- Inmates at Maine state prisons can now complete culinary apprenticeships while serving time. The offering is the result of a partnership between the state's department of corrections and HospitalityMaine, a non-profit restaurant and hotel trade group.
- Maine is facing a dire hospitality talent shortage, HospitalityMaine said in a press release, which prompted the industry group to reach out to the department. "This population needs meaningful, living-wage employment and our members need a fresh source of talent," said Terry Hayes, the association’s director of workforce development, in a statement. "Our collaboration ... is a real step forward toward solving our state-wide workforce needs."
- Once released, participants will be encouraged to continue their training working as line cooks at participating restaurants, HospitalityMaine said in a press release.
The news from HospitalityMaine represents a convergence of several major employment trends.
As the group noted, employers in general are facing a talent shortage. The issue spans states and industries, and the solutions offered are just as myriad. But like this apprenticeship program, many of the solutions involve some form of training. After all, the digital revolution is partly to blame, with skill demands evolving faster than education can keep up. Employers are working to reskill today's employees, train students for tomorrow and, of course, find untapped talent pools.
Tied closely to this trend is a renewed interest in apprenticeships. Driven in part by the Trump administration, such programs are increasingly getting a second look from employers. Industries that wouldn't have considered such an arrangement — insurance and tech, for example — are giving apprenticeships a try, hoping they can yield a strong talent pipeline.
Employers across the country are also taking a look at so-called second-chance employment. As state and local governments continue to "ban the box," businesses are being forced to reconsider whether criminal history must always be a barrier to employment. The Society for Human Resource Management has taken up the banner for this issue. Separately, employers like Dave's Killer Bread have served as model employers for second-chance employment in recent years, espousing the initiative as a way to widen an employer's talent pool while also embodying good corporate citizenship.