NH Promise program provides free COVID safety training for restaurant industry workers

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NH Promise Larissa pic

Larissa Baia, President of Lakes Region Community College, chief architect of the online program. Courtesy Photo

CONCORD, NH – As the cold weather finally begins to fade and the spring surge of Granite Staters restaurant-goers begins anew, the NH Lodging & Restaurant Association (NHLRA) and the Community College System of NH (CCSNH) have teamed up to help restaurants and other eating establishments such as bakeries and coffee shops certify that their staff has been trained in COVID-related safety precautions for the industry.  The “NH Promise,” program provides free online training customized to address best practices developed by public health authorities as well as to meet New Hampshire-specific requirements.  The goal is to build consumer confidence in the industry and reassure a cautious public that they are safe going out to eat this winter.

“We want people to know we are doing everything we can to provide a safe environment for patrons and visitors, and we have learned a great deal over the last six months of operating during this pandemic,” said Mike Somers, President of the NHLRA. “While restaurants have been able to remain open through the winter months, as the mild weather approaches, we hope this program boosts confidence in on-site dining.”

The free online training can be completed by employees in a matter of hours; those who successfully complete the program will be awarded a certificate from CCSNH.  Establishments with at least 25 percent of front-line staff and all supervisors earning certification will be awarded a “NH Promise” decal to display on site.  This serves as an indication of their collective commitment to staff and customer safety.

The NH-based program is delivered through a set of self-paced online modules to be offered by CCSNH to hospitality sector employees.   Lakes Region Community College is one of the colleges that worked with the NHRLA to develop the NH Promise certification and curriculum. “NH Promise” is intended for current hospitality employees as well as those looking to re-enter the field.

“Establishments can put their employees through the training easily, and individuals who are job-seeking can do this training on their own to have the credential when they apply for jobs,” said Dr. Larissa Ruiz Baía.  Faculty at Lakes Region, White Mountains Community College and Nashua Community college, all with hospitality-related programs, collaborated to develop the training.  

In addition to providing support to the lodging and restaurant industry in New Hampshire, College officials believe this model can be expanded to other industries to meet credentialing needs and workforce development opportunities related to the “new normal” communities may be facing with COVID-19 and the possibility of other infectious illnesses.   

The Common Man family of restaurants was the first to embrace the concept of this program and enroll several staff from locations all over the state to take the CCSNH course offering.  As of now, more than 30% of all management and servers in the Common Man family have completed the course requirements, meaning all 21 retail locations have staff on hand who have been trained in NH Promise.

“The health and well-being of our guests and our team members has always been a priority for The Common Man Family, and that concern has only grown due to the pandemic,” said Sean Brown, Chief Operations Officer for The Common Man. “The NH Promise program has given us an additional layer of education and awareness that we can share with our team members to enhance the already strong safety protocols we have in place and use each day. We’re all relieved to see the number of cases and hospitalizations drop. As vaccination numbers rise, we can finally see light at the end of this long tunnel. However, it’s critical for our industry to continue to be vigilant and keep focusing on the strong safety protocols contained in the NH Promise program. Our restaurants will continue take the greatest level of care possible to provide a safe environment for team members and guests alike, to ensure a safe and enjoyable dining experience for all.”   

For more information, go to this link:  The NH Promise for Hospitality Employees – Community College System of New Hampshire (ccsnh.edu)

About Community College System of New Hampshire:

CCSNH is a public system of higher education consisting of seven colleges located across NH. All colleges in the CCSNH are accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education, the same entity that accredits 4-year colleges and universities in New Hampshire. Our purpose is to provide residents with affordable, accessible education and training that aligns with the needs of New Hampshire’s businesses and communities, delivered through an innovative, efficient and collaborative system of colleges. CCSNH is dedicated to the educational, professional and personal success of its students; a skilled workforce for our state’s businesses; and a strong New Hampshire economy.

About New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association

The New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association is a statewide organization which protects and serves the hospitality industry and its members. As the industry’s primary advocate, we aim to be their voice and be an indispensable resource for information and services. Since 1919, the NHLRA has strived to improve the hospitality industry, whether it’s bringing new business to your door or supporting the next generation of industry leaders.

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Community College System of NH