The Gateway Team is excited to report on a meeting organized with our Hospitality Industry Consortium to form a local chapter of the Alabama Restaurant & Hospitality Association (ARHA). Since its inception, the Gateway Initiative has worked hand-in-hand with the ARHA to support our hospitality businesses through advocacy and workforce development efforts.
The kick-off meeting was held on Tuesday, October 13 at Magnolia Hall, in the Cosmos Courtyard. “We were very pleased with the turnout,” said Tyler Morgan of Gateway. “There were more than 40 attendees including representatives from 20 businesses.” She continued, “Our goal with these meetings is to bring the group together around information that can make our businesses more successful”.
The program was highlighted by a presentation by Senator Chris Elliott and his work to get Alabama’s insurance rating reduced when it comes to liquor liability. “Alabama and just one other state in the union have the highest liability rating which forces our businesses to pay exorbitant rates for insurance”, explained Elliott. He continued, “now that we understand the problem we will have to negotiate with the trial lawyers to get our rating reduced.”
Gateway’s education and training partners presented information on professional development opportunities. Bridget Wilson, Executive Director of the South Alabama Workforce Development Council gave members information on how to apply for funding to train new hires and upskill current staff members. Columbia Southern University presented a new series of microcredentials designed specifically for Hospitality Supervisors. “These microcredentials are unique,'' explained Ed Bushaw of Gateway. “Columbia Southern recruited local industry experts to determine the content of these microcredentials which can all be offered in an online or in-seat format.”
The final presentation was from Mindy Hanan, CEO of the ARHA. Mindy explained specific membership benefits including advocacy, blue cross / blue shield insurance available to members, industry purchasing discounts, and staff recruitment opportunities.
The new association will meet quarterly or as necessity dictates. For more information on the ARHA and its programming please call Shea Perkins at (334) 233-4519.