I doubt that it will be very often that I refer you to a travel magazine. But I was intrigued by an article in the October 14 Sunday Business section of the New York Times announcing that the Conde Nast Traveler Magazine World Savers award had been given to Bill Marriott, in part, for a training program for underprivileged kids in countries where Marriott has hotels. Marriott is acting on their sense of social responsibility. Marriott’s partner in this program is the London-based organization, Youth Career Initiative, which works with a number of hotel chains to provide career opportunities for youth. Their Web site says:
Youth Career Initiative programmes are conducted by hotel management teams and combine both theory and practical instruction. The programme includes instruction in personal finance, interpersonal skills, and personal health and wellbeing. It also exposes participants to a successful business environment and a wide variety of workplace situations.
This sounds like a great example of a win-win-win community partnership: young people, who typically have few opportunities, get a chance to learn skills and develop a career; hotels develop committed employees that fill jobs where there are shortages of workers; and local communities benefit from having more skilled workers. What a great program! But it will remain great only if the management teams have and maintain their competencies to teach, advise, and coach these young people who come from difficult life experiences. These teams must maintain these skills over time and as managers change jobs, as they frequently do in the hospitality industry, the teams must maintain continuity and commitment to the program. Otherwise, it will become just another business social-responsibility PR program with limited results for the youth and their communities.