FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 22, 2023
Fairfax City and Town of Vienna Collaborate on Culinary Workforce Program to Support Local Restaurants
Fairfax City, VA – Economic development teams from Fairfax City and the Town of Vienna have united to tackle staffing challenges within the local restaurant industry. Together, the two jurisdictions are exploring the development of an innovative culinary workforce program aimed at providing job training and identifying prospective, qualified employees to bolster the vibrant restaurant scenes in both communities.
The recent survey period focused on gathering insights from local businesses regarding their staffing needs and concerns. However, additional opportunities are available for local businesses to engage directly with the program’s developers via virtual office hours aimed at gathering further input from the local business community. The next office hour is September 28 at 9 a.m. via Zoom.
Highlighting their dedication to understanding the staffing requirements of local restaurateurs, Natalie Monkou, Economic Development Director for the Town of Vienna, stated, “The survey results give us a clear understanding of our local restaurants’ staffing needs. The next step is to use that feedback to develop a program that attracts qualified candidates to support those staffing needs.”
The concept for this workforce development program emerged after both localities observed common challenges faced by restaurants following the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic significantly impacted the restaurant industry, necessitating solutions to address staffing shortages and bridge critical skill gaps.
Despite these challenges, Fairfax City Economic Development and the Town of Vienna Economic Development Division continue to witness growth of their culinary scenes, as well as public excitement for the diversification of offerings. This is evident through well-supported Restaurant Week campaigns, promoting local restaurants and strengthening the economic vitality of their respective communities.
“Our interest lies in forging partnerships with regional agencies, recognizing that collaboration amplifies the impact of our initiatives,” said Tara Borwey, Economic Development Programs Manager for Fairfax City. “We firmly believe that by joining forces, we can help fortify the culinary workforce, ultimately contributing to the economic strength of our communities.”
While there is no set timeline for the program’s launch, the economic development leaders anticipate refining their vision based on the survey results and maintaining continuous engagement with the local business community.
Fairfax City Economic Development is a collaboration between the Fairfax City Economic Development Office and the Fairfax City Economic Development Authority, an independent agency administered by a commission appointed by the City Council to promote economic development activity within Fairfax. Fairfax City Economic Development helps attract businesses to the city, encourages and develops programs that foster connections between businesses, residents, and visitors of Fairfax, and spearheads innovative programs and strategies devoted to positioning Fairfax City as an ideal location to start, grow, and scale a business. It is a founding member of the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance.
Town of Vienna Economic Development works to help cultivate and promote the Town of Vienna’s long-term economic competitiveness and vibrancy. The office works to diversify the business community through attraction and retention strategies and strengthens the business community through a variety of services, programs, and community development initiatives. Services and information provided include site selection assistance, space availability reports, promotional assistance, access to mentoring and business counseling, webinars, and information about local and federal grant programs.