Moving Forward: Spring 2018

In January, interns in EBI’s most recently developed Project SEARCH site at the Claremont Club and Spa, a Fairmont Hotel, were greeted with the welcoming hospitality and friendly reception routinely experienced by guests at this luxurious urban resort. With a booming hotel industry, low unemployment rates, and an untapped pool of motivated jobseekers, the timing was perfect for EBI to partner with the hotel to start an internship program for individuals with disabilities. Now, just three months later, it looks like this collaboration is a win-win.

Twenty years ago, individuals with disabilities who wanted to work largely found employment in grocery and retail stores. While this was a good option for many people, others wanted more choice. To that end, EBI launched its Project SEARCH internship programs, where clients learned clerical and computer skills within a healthcare or public sector setting. Fast forward to 2017, when the hospitality industry in the Bay Area was soaring and, at the same time, EBI wanted to provide options for clients in jobs that didn’t require office skills. With continued growth in hospitality predicted, EBI approached the Claremont Club and Spa about their hiring needs.

Think about the many tasks that take place every day to keep a resort running smoothly and its guests – young and old – happy. What does it take to keep the hotel sparkling clean, be sure that dishes are ready for service, make it possible for hotel and spa guests to have enough freshly laundered towels, to stock the locker rooms throughout the day so they’re always filled with supplies, and to provides engaging childcare for the littlest guests?

EBI’s eight interns at the Claremont Club and Spa are learning to complete a variety of tasks while, at the same time, providing great customer service when interacting with guests. As a Spa Attendant, Marquis answers phones, greets guests and provides tours of the men’s spa; Alyssa is supervising young children at Kids Club; David is a Kitchen Attendant in charge of keeping the employee cafeteria clean and providing an inviting atmosphere; Lupita works in housekeeping doing deep cleaning throughout the hotel; Jevari provides upkeep to the pool deck and men’s locker room, while offering guest services; Nina keeps the women’s locker room organized and clean by replenishing the amenities while maintaining a high standard of guest services; Elizabeth sorts linens, organizes clean uniforms and processes special orders; and, Yuka maintains the guest lounge, provides towels throughout the fitness center and cleans the exercise equipment. With detailed checklists on hand, supportive co-workers serving as mentors, and experienced EBI job coaches on-site, the interns are performing multiple job duties.

The welcoming and inclusive culture at this iconic Berkeley hotel may help launch a career in hospitality for eight very hardworking, motivated interns!