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Diversity Apprenticeship Program (DAP)


Columbus is a vibrant city, but racially diverse talent and leadership are vastly underrepresented in the travel and hospitality industry. In order to more truly reflect the community we serve, while also taking initiative to combat underrepresentation and lack of equity in the industry as a whole, Experience Columbus and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission launched the Diversity Apprenticeship Program (DAP) in collaboration with Tourism Diversity Matters. DAP — the 2022 recipient of PRNEWS’ Social Impact award — provides a paid, hands-on opportunity for those who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color) in travel industry organizations and businesses. 

Upon successfully completing 600 working hours over a period of six months, we’re proud to say that the apprentice(s) will be offered a full-time, manager-level position or higher at a participating partner location. DAP is a significant step toward Experience Columbus’ goal of equity and greater representation, and we couldn’t be prouder to have created this robust program in our city.

Are you interested in learning more about how to become a Partner Host site? If so, complete this form.


To apply for the Diversity Apprenticeship Program, the applicants should meet the following criteria:

  • Self-identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color)
  • Be at least eighteen (18) years of age
  • Provide an official/unofficial copy of their high school/GED or college transcript
  • Commit to 600 working hours (not to exceed six (6) months)
  • Adhere to the organizational policies and procedures of Experience Columbus and any additional participating partners
  • Have an interest in the hospitality/travel/tourism sector

DAP applications are currently closed.


DAP Icon 1 Potential candidates will complete a phone and in-person interview.
DAP icon 2 If selected, the apprentice will be asked to complete a background check.
DAP Icon 3 Apprentice is hired by Experience Columbus, but works most of their hours in one host location for 6 months, or 2 host locations for 3 months each, or 3 host locations for 2 months each, while earning $18/hour.
DAP Icon 4 Upon successful completion of the program the apprentice will be offered a full-time, manager-level position or higher, at one of the participating partner locations.



Check out our past cohorts here!

Jae Denson headshot on red background

Jae Denson, ECI (he/him) Host Site: Columbus Clippers

Jae is a Columbus, Ohio native and has always loved the city. Before joining the Diversity Apprenticeship Program, Jae worked in higher education as an administrator. His resume includes leadership positions at Capital University and the Colleges of Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine at The Ohio State University. Participating in this program was a career pivot, but he is excited to identify and build diverse corporate partnerships for the Columbus Clippers. Jae earned his bachelor’s degree in mass media arts with a concentration in public relations from Clark Atlanta University. He also holds an MBA with a marketing concentration. Jae considers himself a lifelong learner as well as a pop culture and travel enthusiast.

Shanell Nutt headshot on red background

Shannell Nutt, ECI (she/her) Host Site: Columbus Museum of Art

Shanell Nutt is a dedicated professional with a strong background in strategic communications and marketing. Prior to starting the Diversity Apprenticeship Program, she worked at Nationwide Financial as a Territory Consultant and Retirement Solutions Representative. Her earlier experience includes a marketing internship at Experience Columbus, where she gained insights into the tourism industry, careers in hospitality and administrative support. Shanell is also a proud alumna of The Ohio State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in strategic communications with a minor in African and African American studies. During her college years, Shanell demonstrated her leadership skills through various roles, including President of the Black Student Association and Director of Marketing for the National Association of Black Journalists. She was also actively involved in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., where she managed social media campaigns and compliance records.

Taisa Harris headshot on red background

Tasia Harris, ECI (she/her) Host Site: The Junto

Tasia is a Columbus native and is excited to be a part of the Diversity Apprenticeship Program. Prior to the program, Tasia was pursuing her communications degree at Columbus State Community College. While deciding on her career path, she saw this program as an opportunity to challenge herself and to stay engaged in her community. Her goal is to gain a deeper understanding of how the hospitality/tourism industry works and see if she wants to make it her lifelong career. In her spare time, Tasia enjoys playing the guitar, going to concerts, cooking, creating art, and spending time with her loved ones.

Experience Columbus' Diversity Apprentices posing with certificates


Shannon Jones photo

Shannon Jones, PhD, ECI (she/her) Director, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA)


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