AUGUSTA, ME — It’s always been stressful: Waiting tables, running an inn, balancing the books.
Midway through the summer of COVID-19, professionals in the hospitality space — known for creating relaxing environments for others — face a new anxiety: Working through a pandemic. New industry protocols such as social distancing, incessant cleaning and the debate over face coverings, can lead to on-the-job anxiety and even damage mental and physical health.
Today, HospitalityMaine launches two online courses aimed at creating a sustained, healthy workforce for Maine’s restaurant and hotel professionals. In partnership with the Maine Community College System and The Opportunity Alliance, the new COVID Readiness Training covers stress management and the foundations of de-escalation, which aims to diffuse conflict.
“Learning de-escalation skills promotes a sense of safety, reduces burnout, and allows workers to interact with customers more confidently,” said Emily DaSilva, a public health expert at The Opportunity Alliance, a South Portland-based community action agency. “Good self-care and mental health practices are important acts of self-preservation and increases our ability to thrive day to day.”
Earlier this spring and summer HospitalityMaine launched COVID-19 Restaurant Readiness and Lodging Foundations training. Taken by more than 3,000 Mainers since May, there are now four micro-credentials that can be put towards an associate degree at Eastern Maine Community College.
“We are pleased to launch the final two programs in our four-course suite of COVID-19 training: Hospitality Health: De-Escalation and Hospitality Health: Mental Health and Stress Management. Added to Restaurant Readiness and Lodging Foundations, these free, online tools ensure the health and safety of our workers and guests,” said HospitalityMaine’s CEO Steve Hewins. “Our industry’s long term recovery starts with educating our frontline employees on how to keep themselves and their guests safe and healthy.”
David Daigler, president of the Maine Community College System, considers this training key in securing Maine’s status as a safe destination for vacationers.
“HospitalityMaine is a leader in understanding that micro-credentials, earned over short periods of time, are responsive to the current needs of the industry and can be combined to provide an efficient and effective path to developing the skills and longer-term credentials necessary in today’s economy,” said Daigler.