Over the past several months the Gateway Initiative has been collaborating with the Alabama Community College System and the Alabama Restaurant & Hospitality Association (ARHA) on a short-term training credential intended for entry-level hospitality workers.
“We are very excited about this credential because it is truly a business-driven model,” stated Tyler Brunson of the Gateway Team. “Employers from across the state were interviewed to provide input on the basic skills needed for successful entry-level hospitality employment — the end result being something quite special.”
The credential combines basic job preparedness skill development with competencies needed for entry-level success, including Gateway to Great Customer Service OSHA 10 for Hospitality, Cost Control and Human Resource Management.
“Our goal was to produce a credential that would give individuals a leg-up on being hired for quality jobs offered by quality companies,” said Dr. Josh Duplantis, Dean of Workforce Development at Coastal Alabama Community College. “We feel we did a good job listening to employers’ needs, and hiring people with this credential will aid in setting new employees on a strong path for career success.”
ARHA has received $1 Million from the American Rescue Plan to offer the training for this credential across the State of Alabama. The first 700 individuals trained in south Baldwin County will receive the training tuition-free; regular tuition is $495 per individual.
The Gateway Initiative team partnered with two local restaurants and the Foley Police Department to provide meals to over 700 healthcare workers at South Baldwin Regional Medical Center on Wednesday, September 8th. The Foley Police Department volunteered their time and a large portable grill for Chef Ryan Traudt of Wolf Bay Restaurant to prepare hamburgers and hotdogs at lunch. Chef Ira Gallon and co-owner Sylvia Smith of Local and Company Food + Drink provided the dinner shift. Many of these meals were also taken to several free-standing clinics in south Baldwin County, including the new Emergency Department in Gulf Shores.
"The response from our local restaurants and volunteers was overwhelming. Everyone wants to show their appreciation. When you are here and see all of the hard work and sacrifice in action, it takes you over emotionally to think of what the hospital staff has gone through," said Ed Bushaw of Gateway. Baldwin County healthcare workers said the last few months have been the toughest of any since the pandemic began. In August, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sent a task force team to help at South Baldwin Regional Medical Center. Chief Nursing Officer Margaret Roley said, "In my 30-year career, I've never seen or been through anything like this. There is a balance between feeling the need to serve our community, taking care of our patients, and exhaustion."