[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Check out the video below as Leah describes how a job offer changed her life and gave her hope. Hospitality provides a place for communities to thrive, and for people to succeed.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/sZBWq0-nig4″ align=”center” css_animation=”fadeInDown”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]By Paul Schlienz

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It’s was not a typical job fair.

On May 31st, The Hospitality Education Foundation changed lives.

For this unique hiring event, the Washington Hospitality Association, the Employment Security Department and the Department of Social and Health Services Employment Pipeline have teamed up with other partners in the WorkSource system to offer more career resources and opportunities.

For workers who want careers in hospitality, this was opportunity to jump in with a critical safety net of support.

The Hiring Event removes roadblocks to employment and creates transformative pathways by providing resources for 12 months to prepare new hires to go to work immediately and stay engaged. Resources include transportation, certifications, permits, uniform needs, food assistance, bus passes, childcare assistance vouchers and more.

Restaurants and hotels benefit by connecting with hundreds of vetted, employable, ready-to-interview candidates.

Employers looking for workers and those looking to work in the industry can check out the new hospitality jobs website developed in 2017. It lets employers post jobs for free and provides hundreds of hospitality job postings – even manager positions.

With hospitality labor shortages creeping across the state, the Washington Hospitality Association built a partnership with the Employment Security Department and the Department of Social and Health Services’ Employment Pipeline, responded with its own hiring events. Hospitality businesses need employees to help them succeed. Not being able to connect with competent job seekers can be frustrating, and the hiring events are helping fill this gap.

“We introduce employers to people they never would have been exposed to,” said Washington Hospitality Association Education Foundation Director Naja Hogander, who emphasizes that the job seekers are pre-qualified with the employers, which helps expedite the hiring process. “People find ways to support themselves and managers get great employees.”

The hiring events are one of the Education Foundation’s major success stories. Because of these events, held across the state, in 2016 and 2017, to help employers and job seekers connect, 255 people now have jobs in the hospitality industry.

“The hiring events prove our industry is incredibly welcoming,” said Sandra Miller, the Education Foundation’s workforce development manager.

“We can take people with limited skills and barriers to employment and place them immediately in successful and sustainable employment.”

The hiring events, however, are not geared only toward finding employment for people with limited skills.

“Thanks to the hiring events, we’ve also been able to place incredibly talented, experienced people including a job seeker at the managerial-supervisory level who now works at a downtown Bellevue restaurant,” said Miller.

“We even found a job for someone was an engineer and out of work,” added Hogander. “We actually were able to find him a job at a hotel as an engineer.”

The Washington Hospitality Association has been a thought leader in finding new and creative ways to connect jobseekers with employers and jobs.

If you’re an employer looking for qualified candidates for your openings, contact

To post or pursue a job in hospitality, contact