To help fill critical staffing needs in the city and create a local talent pipeline for the hospitality industry, Urban Alliance (UA) Baltimore launched a new Hospitality Internship Program for 15 high school seniors interested in pursuing a career in that field. Critical support for the program’s pilot year comes from the Baltimore Workforce Development Board, who awarded UA Baltimore a $90,000 grant through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), as well as from the Visit Baltimore Foundation.
Students will receive 6 weeks of pre-employment training in professional soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and professional dress, followed by an additional 30 hours of hospitality industry training from the American Hotel and Lodging Association through Community College of Baltimore County. Students will then be placed in a 9-month, paid internship in the hospitality industry with one-on-one, on-the-job mentoring from an industry professional. Upon completing the program, youth will gain both an industry certification, a professional network within the hospitality sector, and valuable industry-specific skills and experience. The ultimate goal for these students is to transition immediately into full-time, living-wage hospitality jobs after high school or enroll in a 2- or 4-year college.
Long-time UA Baltimore job partner Marriott International has already signed on to take 5 of the 15 interns in the program, hosting them at Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel, Marriott BWI Hotel, Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel, and Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel. Urban Alliance has been a successful talent pipeline for Marriott in the city, with 10 UA alumni currently working in hotels across the city, including 2016 alumnus Kevin Wilson, who joined the Marriott team after earning his associate’s degree from Baltimore City Community College. He said his internship opened his eyes to new professional pathways and new people he wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to meet. Kevin drew on that professional network to help land his new job, and is putting the professional skills he learned through UA to good use.
This new industry-specific internship program will help groom dozens more students like Kevin Wilson as students develop not only the professional soft skills needed to succeed in any workplace, but complete a crash course in the hospitality industry, entering the job market with 9 months of valuable on-the-job experience. Members of the city’s hospitality community can join Marriott in becoming Urban Alliance job partners and help build a stronger hospitality talent pipeline right here in Baltimore.
UA’s impact is only limited by the number of internships we can provide, so we encourage you spread the word and consider taking on an intern – or several. Together, we can build a stronger city – and put another young person on a path to economic success.
Contact UA Baltimore Executive Director Stephanie Amponsah at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-366-5780 to learn more about taking a UA hospitality intern.