Jillian Henze, APR, senior communications manager, Washington Hospitality Association, 360-956-7279 ext. 124,

Nicole Vukonich, state communications manager, Washington Hospitality Association, 360-956-7279 ext. 160,

Hospitality Workforce Development Bill Gets A Hearing

OLYMPIA, WASH. (Jan. 31, 2019)House Bill 1556 to establish the Opportunities for Employment in Hospitality Grant was heard in the House Committee on Labor & Workplace Standards on Thursday morning.

This bill directly supports the work of the Washington Hospitality Association Education Foundation as it works to break down barriers to employment and create public/private partnerships to help its workforce succeed.

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“Our state has stunning scenery, amazing food and drink and some of the most sought-after recreational opportunities in the country—but without the restaurants, hotels and the workers who staff them, enjoying these highlights wouldn’t be possible,” said Rep. Jared Mead, the bill’s prime sponsor. “One of my first jobs was in the industry. That’s why I introduced House Bill 1556, which will connect veterans, the homeless, and those reentering the workforce with careers in the hospitality industry.”

Under the bill, the foundation will work with the Employment Security Department and the Department of Social and Health Services to connect prospective employees with employers, provide on-the-job training and offer wrap-around services with community partners, including job coaching and networking. Job seekers and employers will come together at four hiring events across the state.

“Our industry is not successful unless our employees are successful,” said Jeff Morgan, chairman of the Washington Hospitality Association Education Foundation and director of operations for Hops N Drops. “Hospitality provides career opportunities at every level — lifelong careers as well as first jobs with core job skills that lead to success in other industries.”

Workforce development is a top legislative priority for the Education Foundation and the Washington Hospitality Association in 2019.

In 2018, the Education Foundation trained 857 employees with hospitality skills, and in the past two years, the foundation helped 485 candidates get hired in the industry, said David Faro, director of the Washington Hospitality Association Education Foundation. He said he hopes the momentum from this bill fuels even more tangible results in 2019.

“Hospitality is driven by the passion, determination and spirit of nearly 300,000 people in local communities across the state,” Faro said. “This bill will strengthen the positive impact of the hospitality industry as it continues to create jobs and contribute to the economic vitality of our state.”


About the Washington Hospitality Association Education Foundation

Hospitality is the industry that serves. The Washington Hospitality Association Education Foundation’s mission is to provide wins for the industry by helping our workforce succeed. The nearly 300,000 jobs the industry provides are the backbone of our state’s economy. The foundation, the nonprofit arm of the Washington Hospitality Association, works to get employees into hospitality and train them to their highest potential because the industry is not successful unless its employees are successful.