HospitalityMaine Prepares Apprenticeship Program for Next Spring


Jon Hammond Stands Outside a Convenience Store on the East End of Portland Where He Used to Work.

Jon Hammond, 35, worked at an east end convenience store until this past summer when he was fired.  Every weekday morning for six months he arrived at work close to 5:30 am to make breakfast sandwiches and coffee for early bird customers.

The irony was that Jon was fired by a colleague and friend of his who was just days ago fired himself after four years of employment at this convenience store.  Recently Jon admitted that he was habitually five or ten minutes late every morning.  But he  says that there are still financial issues to be resolved between himself and the store owner that he is pursuing.   Meanwhile, Jon easily got another job in the kitchen of another east end eatery – where he works a daytime shift. And the HELP WANTED sign remains on the door of his previous employer.  It’s been there for months now.

It’s no secret that there is a shortage of restaurant employees in Portland these days.  One popular restaurant on the waterfront gave up trying to hire enough help to open for lunchtime meals.  An owner of a  fast food venue on the east end had planned to build a substantial addition for indoor dining.  He gave up the idea because he didn’t think he could find the help he needed to staff it.  One server told this blogger recently that where she works depends on how she is treated by management.  “If management tries to load too much work on me, I won’t work there,” she said. Some owners/managers have better reputations than others.

In an effort to try to fill the gap between the need for hospitality industry employees and those looking for employment in that growing field, the new HospitalityMaine, plans to implement an apprentice program next spring according to Steve Hewins, CEO, of “HM.”  An apprenticeship is a program in which the individual goes to school and works in the industry simultaneously.  “It does not mean that the person is washing dishes forever,” said Hewins this morning. “An alignment between the two is worked out,”

The focus of the HM program is on the culinary arts such as restaurants and hospitality services like hotels.  To date, HM has two of its members committed to help launch this program next spring.  One is the restaurant – Gather – and the other is Maine Course Hospitality Group – a statewide franchise. Currently, the curriculum  is being refined.  An administrator for the program is yet to be hired.

If you are interested in the program, however, please call (207) 623-2175 and ask to be placed on the waiting list for an application.  When they become available, you will receive one.

Please see post herein dated October 16, 2018 in which Steve Hewins, supports the idea of a Convention Center in Portland.