2022 forecast: HospitalityMaine head of workforce predicts record year for COVID-beaten sector

Derek Fassett, HospitalityMaine’s education and workforce development director since September, predicts a record year for an industry hammered by COVID.


Derek fassett, Maine’s director of workforce development

“The hospitality industry is on track to achieve record levels of performance,” he said, noting that taxable retail sales of restaurants and accommodation establishments in Maine in 2021 were better than expected and that “all signs point to a continued increase”.

While both sectors saw improvement from 2019, the last year before the pandemic, accommodation businesses saw their taxable retail sales increase by 27% while restaurants saw a smaller increase of 3%. , 5%, based on October data.

Nonetheless, Fasssett believes it will be difficult for companies to ramp up for 2022 given the tight labor market for all industries.

Building on HospitalityMaine’s five-year roadmap to tackle the industry’s workforce issues, Fassett says his priorities include partnering with agencies to try and attract more people from underutilized labor towards the hotel industry. The Augusta-based nonprofit already works with state agencies such as the Maine Department of Corrections, the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, and Maine Adult Education, for example.

Youth engagement is another goal for HospitalityMaine as it works with groups such as Jobs for Maine Graduates, Junior Achievement Maine and LearningWorks.

Fassett also aims to create what he calls “stackable recorded learnings,” which will involve working with the Maine Community College System on curriculum development and ensuring connections with public and private universities in Maine.

“The next steps will be to strengthen our partnerships so that the processes do not stagnate and become more widely known and accessible,” said Fassett.

A US Army veteran with a background in military recruiting, Fassett says he expects his experience working with veterans to serve him well in his new role “because it’s nearly impossible to be. an expert in all matters relating to the workforce “.

“There are just too many moving parts, unique business challenges, and diverse business structures to stay on top of everything,” he says. “Being able to keep going through tough times and building on the experience of the amazing HospitalityMaine team is sure to bring success. “

His outlook for the Maine economy: “Hope, Creative, Resilient, Persistent, and Ready. “

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