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PANDEMIC PUT HOSPITALITY PROFESSIONALS OUT OF WORK. SENIOR LIVING SHOULD HIRE THEM By Julie Rupenski, President & CEO, MedBest

Just about every bar, restaurant and hotel across the country has been hit hard by COVID-19.  At the end of March, unemployment filings were up by more than 1000% for people in the food services industry and those working in hospitality.

This is a great time for the Senior Living Industry to hire them! According to a Senior Housing News article, “Senior living providers will no doubt need more workers in the coming weeks and months as Covid-19 rages on. And since many operators already hire from the hospitality talent pool, why not try to help those laid-off workers get back to work?”

We spoke with Ashley Lodi, Executive Director with a Senior Living Community located in Orlando, Florida, and she agrees and added, “Hospitality and senior living industries totally align since both require a caring heart, compassion for people, and the desire to serve. I would say that furloughed hospitality professionals in culinary, sales, marketing, and management could make an easy transition.”

Ms. Lodi is also concerned about the many students who are expected to graduate this spring and summer with a certificate or degree in hospitality, “In these uncertain times, finding a job in hospitality will be extremely difficult.  Senior living providers should try to attract these students now by partnering with schools and universities where hospitality programs are offered. They represent a large talent pool that our industry needs.”

What other places can senior living providers draw talent from? Ms. Lodi thinks that those who work for theme parks such as Disney would be a good fit, “Theme parks train workers on how to provide an amazing customer experience. There's no doubt that these workers would be a good fit for senior living plus we can offer them an opportunity during a time when they need income.”

Income is not the only attractive feature of a job in senior living. Ms. Lodi shared that if a senior living provider wants to attract the best hospitality workers, they need to adopt and promote incentive programs such as employee of the month, education assistance, 401K, vacation, sick time, holiday pay, generous benefits package, rewards for employee referrals, etc.  Additionally, the more creative, the better.

While this unprecedented situation has caused the loss of thousands of jobs in hospitality, there's certainly an opportunity for these workers to take advantage of the many jobs within senior living.

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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Visit VALA's Health Alert Page for information from Virginia and federal agencies and organizations on the COVID-19 response for assisted living providers. 

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