Press Release: Celebrating Toronto’s Hospitality Industry as Workforce Development Champions

Posted 12-01-16 by In Disability,Diversity,Employers,News,Partnerships,Skills Development,Toronto Hospitality,Workforce Development

December 1, 2016, Toronto

HWTC Employer Recognition Event-16

The Honourable Ministers Deb Matthews and Helena Jaczek presented awards to key players of the hospitality industry of Toronto in recognition of their contribution to skill-development, employment and community building; and announced new funding in support of the Hospitality Workers Training Centre.

On December 1, 2016, the Hospitality Workers Training Centre (HWTC) hosted an event at Omni King Edward Hotel to recognize and celebrate employers from the hospitality industry of Toronto. Seventeen hospitality employers who are Champions of Workforce Development were given out awards in the presence of the Honourable Deb Mathews – Deputy Premier, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Minister Responsible for Digital Government and Chair of the Cabinet – and the Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister of Community and Social Services. The event showcased the importance of sector-based workforce initiatives, not just for people distanced from the labour market due to multiple barriers to employment, but also for the industry to build and strengthen its skilled workforce. Minister Deb Matthews also announced funding for HWTC for the “SkillsAdvance Ontario Pilot Project”. Minister Jaczek announced additional funding for HWTC for the “Hospitality Industry Champions’ Disability Inclusion Strategy: Capacity Building, Education and Awareness Project”. Both projects will go a long way in helping HWTC reach out to more people with multiple barriers to employment; and deliver integrated training programs linked with good jobs in the hospitality industry.

In the event titled ‘Employers Recognition Event’ HWTC presented awards to hospitality employers who provide training placements to trainees, and offer employment and growth opportunities to new or existing workers trained through the centre’s hands-on skill-training program. The organization also recognized the advisory committee comprising of notable industry partners. The honourable ministers presented the awards and spoke on the event, appreciating the work of all ‘community builders’ present in the room. Some HWTC graduates shared their stories of their journey from training to employment. Special awards were presented to Toronto Don Valley Hotel & Suites, One King West Hotel & Residence and Andorra Building Maintenance for their dedication to community and workforce development.

The Hospitality Workers Training Centre [HWTC] is a non-profit organization working in Toronto’s hospitality and food service industries. Based on a sector-focused workforce development approach, HWTC provides free of cost training to new entrants and existing workers for employment and career development. The organization’s goal is to strengthen the workforce of Toronto’s hospitality industry by connecting people in need of employment to job opportunities – through high-quality training and strong partnerships with the industry. In 2015, HWTC trained 100 new entrants at Hawthorne Food & Drink, their social enterprise training restaurant, and other industry partner facilities, including unemployed youth and those in receipt of Ontario Disability Supports and Ontario Works. Out of these trainees, 80% were successfully placed in jobs in the hospitality industry of Toronto within the same year. More than 200 existing hospitality workers were also trained for career advancement and personal growth.

A very crucial part of HWTC’s mandate and a key performance index of the program is the employment of its trainees. The hospitality industry plays a key role as industry partners by providing training placements for hands-on experience and job opportunities for the program’s trainees. Through this partnership, the industry gains skilled employees while contributing to community development. This event showcased the necessity, importance and benefits of this partnership as a means to reduce unemployment, increase inclusion and grow the industry’s workforce.

“It was an honour to recognize hospitality industry employers who are demonstrating leadership in building up Ontario’s highly skilled workforce today. Ensuring that Ontarians have the right skills to meet the jobs of today and tomorrow is a shared responsibility between government, the private sector, and civil society, which is why I want to commend the award recipients and the Hospitality Workers Training Centre on their inspiring work skilling up Ontarians.” – Minister Deb Matthews – Deputy Premier, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Minister Responsible for Digital Government and Chair of the Cabinet

“It is important to recognize the accomplishments made by the hospitality industry employers who work hard to create inclusive workplaces and job training for people with disabilities who experience barriers to work.  I congratulate all of the award recipients for their efforts to create greater diversity in the workforce.” – Dr. Helena Jaczek, Minister of Community and Social Services

“The most important aspect of our work is active partnerships and today we celebrated our industry partners who provide training, employment and growth opportunities to our trainees. It was heartwarming to see the wonderful turnout of the industry, community partners and our funding partners, including the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development and Ministry of Community and Social Services, who all came together to celebrate the Workforce Development Champions of the Hospitality Industry of Toronto.” – Mandie Abrams, Interim Executive Director, Hospitality Workers Training Centre.

Quick Facts:
• Hospitality Workers Training Centre (HWTC) started as a project of UNITE HERE Local 75 to train and reintegrate hospitality workers after the SARS breakout in Toronto in 2003.
• HWTC was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 2004 and expanded its program in the coming years to also train new entrants, including unemployed youth, OW and ODSP recipients.
• In 2012 the organization launched Hawthorne Food & Drink, its social enterprise training restaurant.
• In 2015, HWTC trained 100 new entrants and 200 existing hospitality workers. Out of the 100 new entrants, 80% were employed in the hospitality industry.

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For any queries, please contact Soofia Mahmood, Communications Manager at HWTC – or 647.930.9518 x 310.

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