City tourism entities recruiting several BIPOC apprentices for full-time career opportunities to help close the racial equity gap in the industry
To help overcome underrepresentation in the tourism industry, Experience Columbus and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission are partnering with Tourism Diversity Matters, an industry resource for diversity expertise, to launch the Diversity Apprenticeship Program (DAP).
The Diversity Apprenticeship Program will help close the significant racial equity gap in the Central Ohio hospitality community by providing hands-on experience and job opportunities to local students, recent graduates and professionals who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color) and have a passion for tourism. In 2020, nearly 28% of Columbus hospitality employees identified as Black, Asian American, or Hispanic, while 73% identified as white, according to a study by Tourism Economics.
“Our community partners are as passionate about this initiative as we are, and as a result, we will be providing the most robust diversity apprenticeship program in the country, with the most apprenticeship opportunities and highest number of industry partners,” said Shannon Jones, director of diversity, equity and inclusion for Experience Columbus. “We look forward to providing incredible career opportunities to individuals from communities that have historically been underrepresented in the travel and tourism industry because we know we’re better when everyone has a seat at the table.”
The paid apprenticeship program is structured to position the apprentice for long-term professional success in a leadership capacity in the travel industry.
“While tourism across the country is still in recovery mode, it is important to us that the travel industry recovers with equity,” said Brian Ross, president and CEO of Experience Columbus. “This is a priority throughout Columbus, which is felt from the enthusiastic participation from so many diverse partners, as well as the more than $750,000 in funding support from the city, county and Columbus Foundation for this initiative.”
Six apprentices will be selected for the inaugural class of Columbus’ Diversity Apprenticeship Program. The apprentices will be assigned at least one host organization and will work across its multiple cross-functional departments (i.e., marketing, administration, guest services, sales, finance, event planning, etc.) for 600 hours during the six-month cycle. Upon successful completion of the apprenticeship program, participants will be offered a full-time, manager-level position.
Within the DAP, there will be six different program tracks offered to help customize each apprentice’s experience to their interests and talents. The apprentices will receive an opportunity to choose a tourism, hospitality, events, venue or sports career path that aligns with their professional career goals. Some tracks include time at multiple organizations while the others are with one organization for the full six months. The 12 host organizations include:
- Cameron Mitchell Restaurants
- COSI (Center of Science and Industry)
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- Columbus Regional Airport Authority
- Concord Hospitality Enterprises
- Experience Columbus
- Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
- Greater Columbus Convention Center
- Greater Columbus Sports Commission
- Hilton Columbus – Downtown
- Hyatt Regency
- Jordan Hospitality Group
Applicants must be 18 years of age, have a high-school diploma or GED, submit a background check and self-identify as BIPOC. Interviews will be held with advancing candidates after the application window closes. Apprenticeships will be awarded by the beginning of September 2021, and the first apprenticeship class will start mid-September and will work through March 2022. The Diversity Apprenticeship Program will be held twice a year moving forward with the second cycle beginning in April 2022.
Applications for the six-month program are now open and will close on August 31, 2021. To learn more about The Diversity Apprenticeship Program and to apply, visit: https://www.experiencecolumbus.com/dap/.