Joe Baker joins ORHMA as strategic director, workforce development

Baker will work collaboratively with the ORHMA senior leadership team and industry stakeholders on several upcoming key workforce development initiatives.

Joe baker

There has never been a more critical time for ORHMA to support the accommodations and foodservice sector across this province as we work towards recovery. We have struggled with labour issues for many years, and we need to find ways to address our workforce challenges moving forward. People are at the heart of the hospitality industry after all,” says Tony Elenis, president & CEO of ORHMA. ORHMA has identified the workforce as a huge issue to hospitality success and has aggressively embarked through series of initiatives to support the industry. Adding someone with Joe’s experience to our team allows us to collaboratively build a better future for our industry which includes a variety of key players involved in workforce development. Joe’s passion and tenacity are exactly what we need to ensure ORHMA continues to add value to hotels and restaurants in Ontario as we recruit and retain top talent vital to our success.”

Over the last couple of years Joe has worked to support several tourism and hospitality industry recovery activities including the launch of Tourism HR Canada’s Propel Student Work Placement Program providing wage subsidies to industry employers who hire post-secondary students on work-integrated learning experiences, and Ontario Tourism Education Corporation’s Tourism and Hospitality Emergency Recovery initiative.

I have spent my entire career in Ontario’s hospitality and tourism industry and can confidently state that we will collectively overcome the adversity of the last two years. We are now at a critical stage of recovery. We now need to create capacity within our businesses, and this cannot be achieved without engaged and aligned talent,” says Baker. We have a lot of work to do to develop a sustainable workforce. ORHMA plays an essential role bringing the right leaders to the table and co-creating transformational human capital strategies. I am thrilled to join forces with ORHMA and continue to actively advocate for an inclusive, resilient, future-forward industry.”

Baker brings a depth of diverse leadership experience to ORHMA having spent nearly 15 years in Ontario’s college system most recently as dean of Centennial College’s School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts where he led the most significant transformation in the school’s over 50-year history. He was previously director of operations, services and partnerships at George Brown College’s Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts. Before joining higher education, Joe worked in hotels and managed restaurants including with Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality and The Keg Steakhouse and Bar. Joe serves on the board of directors for Tourism HR Canada and Tourism Industry Association of Ontario.