March 2017, Part III






Celebrating Women In The Service Industry. This March, Path Forward is celebrating Women’s History Month by highlighting key facts and showcasing the stories of women who have found opportunities in restaurant and retail, such as Mirta Gutierrez, Executive Chef at Tortilla Coast in Washington, D.C. After immigrating to the United States, Gutierrez started as a dishwasher at Angelo and Maxie’s Steakhouse and quickly moved up through the ranks. Thanks to a degree in accounting, Gutierrez took over the restaurant’s bookkeeping while also learning new skills in the kitchen. She also worked as  a sous chef at District Chophouse and later moved on to work for celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn. When asked why she enjoys working in restaurants, Gutierrez said: “I especially love seeing many teenagers who work here get off the streets, start in an entry level position, and grow into a manager or another higher position.”


Starbucks Focuses On Youth Job Skills. “A new Starbucks opening in East Baltimore has a lot more than coffee brewing,” reported WJZ-TV News on March 16. The store is partnering with Baltimore’s Choice Program, a nonprofit focused on providing support in at-risk environments, to “create job opportunities for young people and support economic development in underserved communities.” Rodney Hines, director of social impact for Starbucks, said, “It is partly that human intelligence, that human connection that we want to teach the young people. And I think that’s fundamental skills the young people can have that they can in any job, any role.” The company plans to hire 100,000 young Americans by 2020 and expand the program beyond existing locations in Ferguson, MO, Chicago, IL, Phoenix, AZ and Queens, NY to at least 15 communities across the country by 2018, The Seattle Times reported.


NRA’s Dawn Sweeney: Restaurants Offer An Enormous Range Of Career Options. On March 17, FastCasual interviewed National Restaurant Association (NRA) President Dawn Sweeney about her success and advice for future female leaders in the industry. Sweeney started in the service sector as a small child picking berries for her family’s roadside produce stand. As she grew older, her responsibilities shifted to assisting customers. When asked why women make great leaders in the restaurant industry, Sweeney said, “Restaurants are flexible workplaces and offer an enormous range of career options — not just in kitchens or in the front of the house, but also in the ‘business’ of restaurants, from finance professionals to graphic designers to human resources leaders and food safety and nutrition experts. The industry is a full of employment opportunities that are vital to our economy.”


East York WalMart Training Academy Celebrates First Graduating Class. The York Dispatch recently reported on WalMart’s training academy in East York, PA which held a graduation ceremony to celebrate its first class of more than 60 supervisors and associates. The academy is one of 200 instructional programs expected to open throughout the United States by the end of 2017 and is predicted to instruct up to 4,500 associates from WalMart Supercenters throughout the south central region of Pennsylvania. The academies combine hands-on and classroom learning to help department managers and hourly supervisors gain core retail skills to run their departments. “At WalMart, we know our number one asset is our people,” Market Manager Bobby Orr said during the graduation ceremony.


Restaurants Fill Every Rung On The Career Ladder. National Restaurant Association (NRA) Chief Economist Bruce Grindy recently penned an article for the NRA’s “Economist’s Notebook” showcasing how the restaurant industry provides a path for people on every rung of the career ladder, from new entrants to the workforce to employees advancing within the industry as they gather training and operational knowledge. According to the NRA, in 2016 alone, restaurant operators reported that approximately one in four of their job openings were filled by first-time workers and one in five were filled by people promoted within the industry. In total, roughly half of limited-service restaurant job openings in 2016 were filled by either newcomers to the workforce or those that were promoted within the restaurant sector.


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