Service Industry and Culinary Training & Placement Program


According to the hospitality industry group Travel Portland, the current hotel boom will result in at least a 40 percent increase in hotel rooms in central Portland by 2020. Accompanying that growth is demand for service and culinary industry workforce, which is in short supply. Meanwhile, young people experiencing homelessness and housing instability need job training and employment opportunities to improve their economic prospects.

The Program

With investment and leadership from Travel Portland, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and New Seasons Market, the Service Industry and Culinary Training & Placement Program, in partnership with New Avenues for Youth, will help young people develop the necessary skills for gaining and retaining employment through job-readiness training, industry-specific training, job shadows and career-exploration activities, paid internships, and potential job offers. Businesses within the service and culinary industries will help prepare and may secure potential employees to meet their workforce needs.

About New Avenues for Youth

New Avenues is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention and intervention of youth homelessness. Since 1997, its programs and services have impacted more than 20,000 young people as they work to overcome barriers, pursue their goals, and realize their potential. From supporting basic needs like meals and counseling to providing opportunities for education, job training, employment, and housing, New Avenues meets youth where they are—and helps them get where they want to go. With a 16-year history of workforce development programming, an 8,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art job-training facility, and four social purpose enterprises (two Ben & Jerry’s PartnerShops, screen-printing business New Avenues INK, and apparel company dfrntpigeon), New Avenues is uniquely equipped to prepare youth for employment success and to help businesses address workforce needs. In 2016-17, the agency made 232 job and internship placements.

Successful History of Service-Industry Training & Placement Programming

In 2005, with support from the City of Portland’s Economic Opportunity Initiative, New Avenues launched its Advanced Training Academies (ATA), an employer-training partnership model focused on business/customer service. As part of the ATA, hotels—including Hilton, Marriott, DoubleTree, Provenance, Kimpton, Sheraton, Sage, and The Nines—offered hospitality-industry training and connected young people to job opportunities. New Avenues also operated a Retail Industry Services Exposure training with Nike, providing a pathway for youth into the athletic/outdoor retail industry.

Exciting Opportunity for Businesses

The Service Industry and Culinary Training & Placement Program—which will launch by early spring 2018—is a wonderful opportunity for businesses to meet their current workforce needs while providing training and potential employment to resilient young people experiencing homelessness and housing instability. New Avenues’ robust curriculum and wraparound supports for youth will anchor the program, but partners are invited to collaborate in designing activities and outcomes that address their specific needs and accommodate their capacity and schedules.