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Monika Zuluaga

Vice President, Membership & Marketing

401-223-1120, ext. 116

Monika@rihospitality.org

Dale's Corner

This blog is written by Dale J. Venturini, President/CEO of RI Hospitality Association (RIHA) and RI Hospitality Education Foundation (RIHEF). Its purpose is to engage RIHA members with current issues and trends.

If there is one theme that has dominated the political landscape in Rhode Island for the last decade, it is without a doubt jobs and the economy. Though we have seen a rise in the local economy since the recession, talk of job creation still dominates the local headlines and airwaves. The RI Hospitality Association (RIHA) is proud to continue to be one of the top employers and job creators in the state, and we continue to work to find ways to hire, employ, promote and nurture talent at all levels throughout the industry.


While many people entering the workforce are thankful to have their first job, so many folks turn their noses up at what is considered an entry-level job. I’m not sure when starting a career path turned into a negative, but we need to change our perspective on entry-level jobs. First jobs play a critical role in the economy and are the fundamental building blocks to successful careers. You cannot run without walking and entry-level jobs open doors to new opportunities, whether embarking on a completely new career or starting a first job as a young person.


At RIHA, we pay special attention to the students who are finding it harder and harder to find opportunities. The unemployment rate of those ages 16-19 in Rhode Island is 16.2%; more than triple the statewide unemployment rate of 4.2%, according to the most recent numbers from the RI Department of Labor and Training (DLT). “Disconnected youth,” as they are termed, are defined as those ages 16-19 who are neither working nor in school. According to DLT, Rhode Island is home to approximately 4,000 disconnected youth which is 6% of the youth population.


These teens are generally less likely to find employment later in life and thus more likely to live in poverty. As an industry, we need to continue to do our part to break a cycle that continues to lead to negative outcomes for our state’s youth.


Our government is making strides to provide job training programs, but many are focused on mechanical and technical trades. RIHA’s own ProStart® program provides hospitality career-building opportunities for hundreds of Rhode Island students each year.  At the same time, efforts are being made to increase educational opportunities, which are proven to create a better prepared workforce. But, those efforts must be supplemented with concrete, tangible job opportunities; the types of which are provided by the hospitality industry. We believe in creating a market for teens to experience the joy of landing that first job.


The DLT reports the hospitality industry created nearly 7,000 new jobs in our state from 2009 (the low employment level of the recession) through the end of 2015. The DLT classifies those jobs in the under $30,000 sector, which signals wages consistent with entry level and teen jobs. We are the leader in job creation for this demographic. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) reports that half of all teens ages 16-19 nationwide are employed by restaurants.


The benefit of youth employment and entry-level jobs is clear. It provides wide reaching social and economic implications for both the individual and society at large. In a first job, teens learn hands-on skills, workplace expectations, and financial-responsibility habits that will remain with them for life, no matter what path they may choose to follow. One out of every three Americans started their working careers in the restaurant business in an entry-level job according to the NRA.


The hospitality industry employs thousands of hardworking Rhode Islanders and many of those are teenagers. We pride ourselves as a welcoming community to ambitious youth, looking for that ever-important first taste of employment.
To learn more about RIHA’s training programs, please visit: www.rihospitality.org.


List of Articles
No. Subject Author Date
39 ‘Tis the Season of Giving Managing GroupMonika Sep 20, 2018
Hope everyone had a wonderful summer filled with rest, relaxation and rejuvenation and is now raring to go! We are fully in the season of giving – no, not the holidays – but, an even more stressful time of the year, the political season. Now...  
38 That’s a Legislative Wrap! file Managing GroupMonika Aug 16, 2018
After a marathon session of debates and a flurry of votes, Rhode Island’s General Assembly has adjourned for the summer. With hundreds of bills in the mix, the RI Hospitality Association (RIHA) spent countless hours carefully monitoring each...  
37 Summer in New England: Be a Tourist in Your Own Backyard file Managing GroupMonika Jul 05, 2018
When many of us think about summer vacations, we think about jumping on a plane and traveling to a far-off destination. However, for those of us who are fortunate enough to live in New England, there’s no need to venture too far to enjoy som...  
36 Our Next Generation of Culinary Stars: Cooking and Planning Their Hearts Out file Managing GroupMonika Jun 11, 2018
Recently, Providence, RI hosted the National ProStart® Invitational (NPSI), the country’s premier secondary-school competition focused on restaurant management and culinary arts. We had some wonderful judges visit from all over the nation as...  
35 Swimming Down “STREAM” Managing GroupMonika May 15, 2018
Education is truly the foundation of success no matter what career path you choose. Some learning is done in traditional classrooms, and more practical experience is gained in the thick of it in a restaurant or hotel kitchen, lodging establi...  
34 The #MeToo Movement is More than a Hashtag file Managing GroupMonika Mar 02, 2018
While the #MeToo movement has become synonymous with the entertainment industry, its reach is far deeper than the bright lights and golden statues of Hollywood. From politics, to business, to manufacturing, to hospitality, the potential for ...  
33 “We are made of star-stuff. Our bodies are made of star-stuff. There are pieces of star within us all.” file Managing GroupMonika Jan 02, 2018
“We are made of star-stuff. Our bodies are made of star-stuff. There are pieces of star within us all.” – Carl Sagan There is no greater honor for me each year then to be part of our industry’s largest celebration! Each November, I look forw...  
32 Paid Sick Leave Passes RI Legislature file Managing GroupMonika Oct 10, 2017
In September, both the Rhode Island House and Senate passed legislation that will require companies to give employees paid sick leave. Although the RI Hospitality Association (RIHA) is generally opposed to mandates that impact the employer-e...  
» When did ‘Entry Level’ become Negative? file Managing GroupMonika Sep 19, 2017
If there is one theme that has dominated the political landscape in Rhode Island for the last decade, it is without a doubt jobs and the economy. Though we have seen a rise in the local economy since the recession, talk of job creation still...  
30 Taking the High Road – the Road Less Traveled file Managing GroupMonika Jul 24, 2017
Normal 0 false false false EN-US KO AR-SA Dale J. Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association It is increasingly difficult to take the high road in today’s poli...  
29 Paid Sick Leave – it’s Nothing to Sneeze at Managing GroupRIHA May 08, 2017
In Rhode Island and across the nation, we’ve seen a host of legislation introduced by out-of-state special interest groups that have squarely targeted the hospitality industry. From eliminating the federal tipped wage, to raising minimum wag...  
28 Buying Local for the Holidays Managing GroupMonika Nov 15, 2016
The holiday season is fast approaching…from a retail perspective, it seems to come earlier and earlier each year. While I was shopping for Halloween candy this year, I was sidestepping Christmas trees, holiday decorations and specialty choco...  
27 The Cost of ‘Chip’ Cards and Protecting Against Fraud Managing GroupMonika Oct 04, 2016
By Dale Venturini, President and CEO, R.I Hospitality Association  Many of us currently have an EMV credit or debit card – also known as a ‘chip’ card. These safer versions of the traditional magnetic-strip cards were designed to prot...  
26 Gluten is Not Free in Restaurants file Managing GroupMonika Sep 01, 2016
Dale J. Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association We all know people who struggle with food allergies. From peanut butter, to shellfish, to strawberries, to dairy, the idea of dining out when one has a food allergy can be an ...  
25 Managing a Better Future file Managing GroupMonika Jun 30, 2016
The hospitality industry is a continuously growing segment of the U.S. economic picture. This year alone, the restaurant industry is expected to realize $783 billion in sales and employ 14.4 million in good-paying jobs, according to the N...  
24 Partnerships – They’re Not Always the Obvious Choice file Managing GroupMonika Jun 06, 2016
Dale J. Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association I’ve written extensively about the need to collaborate with organizations that share the same business interests. Whether a business partner’s mission is within your organizat...  
23 How Important is a Proactive Crisis Plan? Your Business Could Depend on it. Managing GroupMonika May 05, 2016
Dale J. Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association   With the spate of negative media headlines surrounding restaurants that have experienced foodborne or human-contact illness, it is critically important that every eatin...  
22 Where Have the Teens Gone? file Managing GroupMonika Apr 04, 2016
Dale J. Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association It used to be that almost every teenager had a job in the hospitality industry. With flexible hours and class-friendly scheduling, our industry was the perfect landing spot for h...  
21 The Real Cost of Foodborne Illness file Managing GroupMonika Feb 02, 2016
Dale J. Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association Our food supply system, while infinitely safer and better regulated than most other parts of the world, still has its challenges. We’ve all seen the headlines and recalls from E....  
20 “Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars.” file Managing GroupMonika Dec 30, 2015
“Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars.” – Les Brown Dale J. Venturini President/CEO, RI Hospitality Association  As we close out another year and ring in 2016, I have been fortunate to once again cele...