Hyatt Regency Dallas wants to prioritize caring for people in a way that makes them better. The Dallas Independent School District thinks it’s doing that well with the students of Lincoln High School—well enough to receive an award as the 2018-2019 Outstanding P-Tech Industry Partner.
DISD’s P-Tech program is an initiative designed to provide students real-world work experience. The district has partnered with companies such as Hyatt Regency Dallas to give high school freshmen through seniors a hands-on approach to their future.
Hyatt just wrapped the first of a six-year commitment to the P-tech program, which focused specifically on careers in hospitality. 21 Hyatt managers passed along their industry knowledge by way of 125.5 volunteer hours with more than 150 students.
The partnership with DISD is part of Hyatt’s global initiative, Rise HY. It focuses on pairing Hyatt’s hospitality careers with young people in search of jobs.
The plan, announced in late 2018, targets youth ages 16 to 24 to provide them the chance to find a lifelong career that is both meaningful and fulfilling. The ultimate goal is to hire 10,000 opportunity youth by 2025.
Luisa Parra-Paz, Hyatt’s talent acquisition and development manager and overseer of the P-Tech program, feels grateful she has the chance to show the students at Lincoln they can cultivate their careers at Hyatt.
“We have a lot of positions available and a lot of opportunities to start a career in our hospitality industry,” Parra-Paz told Dallas Innovates. “[Rise HY] is a great opportunity for us to start closing that gap between our opportunities and our company needs, and their needs to get an opportunity to have a career and grow in the hospitality industry.”
Showing them the ropes
The Hyatt Regency Dallas aims to grow with the participating students by building on their experiences each year. Students start learning about the industry in ninth grade, focusing on the foundations of personal development and communication skills. Then, they start to face new challenges as they learn more about Hyatt.
Parra-Paz says she’s lucky to be able to watch the students grow.
“It’s just a great opportunity for us as a company to be able to contribute to our community,” she says. “We’re so fortunate, you know, getting these opportunities to people to start in entry level positions.”
The tenth grade students focus on specific departments within the hotel, such as housekeeping, sales, and events. They gain industry knowledge through hotel tours and conferences with managers.
Then, at the end of the year, they give presentations on what they learned and provide potential solutions to industry challenges.
Hailey Hodges worked closely with students on the housekeeping team. She told Dallas Innovates she’s impressed that DISD gives high school students a sneak peek at what it’s like to have a hospitality career.
“I know for me, going into college, I thought I knew what I wanted to do. But I changed my major halfway through, as most people do,” Hodges says. “And so I just think it’s cool that they’re getting that chance in high school, and that it offers them that opportunity going into college with a potential to already know what you want to do.”
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