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COIVD-19 doesn’t stop employment training

As COVID-19 continues, our Economic Empowerment team is still assisting our community.  Various trainings are being held virtually and our clients are still receiving services that will benefit their employment prospects. One that continues and has a new importance in these times is our Hospitality Link program.

Funded by Marriott Hotels, the program is typically a four-day course that has been shortened to two due to the pandemic. The course teaches clients about hotels and restaurants in North Texas and utilizes both IRC Customer Service videos and staff/client interactions. Training occurs on Zoom and in specialized classes in different languages. Most recently trainings were conducted in English, Dari, Swahili, Kinyarwanda, and Spanish. A Hakha Chin class is on the horizon to reach even more clients.

Hospitality Link emphasizes the basics of customer service as well as showcasing the job opportunities that are available in the hospitality field. Often clients think that hospitality only is cleaning and dishwashing, but the class teaches them that there are also positions like the front desk, finance, and management that can help propel their careers.  

Recently the IRC in Dallas combined training for Hospitality Link with the Starbucks-funded [email protected] program. Clients can get further understanding of customer service as well as learn skills relating to interview preparation, elevator pitches for job fairs, and how to communicate with their employers. By combining these two programs the IRC is able to give our clients a more well-rounded educational experience.

The program serves refugees, asylees, Special Immigrant Visa holders, and victims of trafficking. Any IRC client who has a work authorization is eligible for the program and there is no time restriction from date of arrival.  This means that clients can return after they have increased English skills or have experienced layoffs or reduced hours because of COVID. Being enrolled in an IRC employment program is not a requirement so the course is far reaching.

Though the economy is uncertain due to COVID-19 and job placement has been difficult in the hotel industry, clients have been able to utilize their new customer service skill in other industries like grocery and retail and these useful trainings have continued.

If you would like to participate in Hospitality Link as a client or as an employer, please contact Nikki Weatherly at Nikki.Weatherly [at] rescue.org.