New apprenticeship program looks to meet workforce demand in DE

BETHANY BEACH, Del. – On Monday, Delaware’s Senator Tom Carper and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester were in Bethany Beach to see the Delaware Restaurant Association’s apprenticeship program in action.

“We need to make sure that the dollars are going to training individuals for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Representative Blunt Rochester.

“We have programs that are set up to help people who want to be entrepreneurs to be successful, but they need the skills first that they’re learning here,” said Senator Carper.

Thanks to a number of grants provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, organizations like the Delaware Restaurant Association, have been able to create apprenticeship programs to provide people with the skill sets they need to work in the hospitality industry.

“Part of our challenge coming out of the pandemic will be to look at the skill sets that are going to be needed in businesses that have survived,” Senator Carper.

Officials say throughout this program, mentors are paired with trainees to teach them everything they need to know about the industry.

“I’ve worked on a lot of recipes; we’ve made a lot of stocks. I learned how to make sauces,” said Apprentice Kevin Ortiz-Berdo.

“It’s really about taking him, and honing his skills and teaching him everything that I can teach him,” said Chef, and Mentor, Margaret Cellitto.

Program organizers say ever since the coronavirus pandemic started, the need for restaurant employees is huge.

“There’s a huge shortage of cooks, properly trained cooks, in the industry,” said the Director of the  Education Delaware Restaurant Association & Educational Foundation, Raelynn Gragan.

Which is why program directors say apprenticeships like these are critical in order to help meet the job demand and to keep people employed.

“It’s really important that we do the instruction and we build within so that people don’t constantly have to leave the state to go and find different jobs. We’re building our own economy within our own state,” said Cellitto.


Categories: Delaware, Local News