Message From The President 2013
For more than 30 years, the RI Hospitality Association has been the voice of our industry proactively working to increase awareness and be an advocate for all our members. In 2012, our industry faced one of our biggest challenges, when we were faced with a proposed increase to the meals and beverage tax. Virtually overnight, the Association mobilized the "10% is too much" campaign to prevent this legislation from passing. Because of the dedication and hard work of all our members, local businesses, and supporters, this bill was defeated in the state house. We will continue to monitor any legislative threats to our industry and will take all necessary measures to ensure that the best interests of our industry and membership is served.
This year we will further build on a successful track record of coalition building with like-minded organizations, community and business partners. Collaboratively we can create and offer innovative programs and services. We are looking forward to combining efforts with these already-established partners to further the goals of our membership.
Along with coalition building, 2013 will be a year to focus on our educational initiatives. Our service and food safety courses offered by the RI Hospitality Education Foundation (RIHEF) continue to be nationally recognized and awarded. There are more than 2,000 students, adult learners, and employees who have participated in one of our RIHEF programs. Workforce development is a key aspect of getting Rhode Islanders back to work and the Association will continue to do its part to maintain its standing as a cornerstone of the economy in Rhode Island.
And, with the growing demand of our educational programs, we have created one centralized location for all the Association's education initiatives. In 2013, we will officially launch the Hospitality Training Academy (HTA). HTA is the next step in further educating and developing the skills of our hospitality workforce. Students will be able to work their way to earning hospitality certificates and designations and will eventually have the opportunity to graduate from the program. All our existing training programs will also be housed in this one easy, convenient location.
However, at the forefront, our top priority is - and always will be - to continue to successfully serve and represent our members. Together, we will overcome any obstacles that challenge the strength of our industry. We look forward to 2013 and representing your interests.
Dale J. Venturini