Hands On @Hyatt – Diversity and Inclusion in Action

by John Ficca

In 1998, we partnered with one Hyatt Hotel in Tampa, FL. Our first hotel was the Hyatt Regency Westshore, which is now known as the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. From the start, it was obvious that Hyatt folks were always striving for excellence. Great is not good enough for Hyatt, they are always trying to be greater. 

Hyatt HR Directors were asking “why are we only training students in the kitchen? Why not other departments?” Then the conversation turned to other cities, because Hyatt Hotels are located all over the world. Further demonstrating Hyatt’s desire for excellence. In 1999, I met Hyatt’s Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion.  I saw his card and thought “these people smell what we are cooking”, and it was clear that Hyatt wanted to include Individuals with Disabilities into all of their diversity initiatives.  A smile consumed my face, and I realized that our students were in the right place – an environment where their co-workers would focus on their strengths and not their limitations.
I often say that Hyatt is not a company, they are actually a huge family with 100K brothers and sisters. And although Hyatt is not obligated to offer our students a permanent position, we have graduates working at Hyatt Properties from FL to WA State, from San Diego to Denver, and from Dallas to Minneapolis to our Nation’s Capital.  Further demonstrating their commitment to our program and the students we serve.
The ultimate for all people is to feel valued and included in all aspects of the community in which they live and work. Hyatt Hotels is a shining model of an Employer of Choice, and they have totally adopted our program – affectionately known as Hands On@ Hyatt. Other employers would do well if they could develop the diverse and inclusive culture that Hyatt has cooked up over the years. And we are fortunate that Hyatt has included our program into their daily operations. Together we are changing lives, one student at a time. 😎

John Ficca, Program Director
Hands On Education