Virginia’s hospitality association is launching a jobs board and training program to help Richmond-area restaurant and hotel industries recover from the economic impact of COVID-19.
The Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association received a $132,500 state grant, part of $6.3 million in Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) grants announced by Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday to help the state’s recovery.
GO Virginia is a business-led, government-funded, regional economic development group. The grant will fund the Virginia Restaurant and Hotel Workforce COVID Recovery and Upskilling Program in the state’s Region 4, which includes the city of Richmond and the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico.
Restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues were economically devastated by the temporary closures and social distancing necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19; and staffing is currently one of the biggest challenges impeding recovery, according to Eric Terry, president of the VRLTA, which represents the state’s restaurant and hotel industries.
There are nearly 5,000 restaurant industry jobs alone in the region right now. The jobs board, which will help connect prospective employers and employees, includes statewide opportunities and is free for VRLTA members to use for job postings.
Listings for nonmembers are $50 for 30 days and $125 for featured listings. All jobs are also published on the Google Jobs Network. Employees looking for work can also upload their résumés so employers can find them.
The upskill training program is free for anyone in the Richmond region/GO Virginia region 4 and will allow industry workers to enhance their skills in their current role, such as with food safety or alcohol training, or identify a desired position, such as in management, and train for it.
“We are finishing up the portal that employees will be able to register on. They will give their information as well as the current/or desired position and then they will have the opportunity to take any/all of the courses that are offered for that position,” said Jim Wilson, the VRLTA’s vice president of education and workforce development. “All of the training will be delivered virtually so there is no need to attend an in-person class.”
The jobs board and training opportunities can be found at vrlta.org.