Author: John Ficca

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And Spring turns to Summer

2020 was a year to remember, and for all the wrong reasons.  The pandemic gripped our country (and the globe) and we lost so many people to this horrible virus. Covid-19 impacted our economy, and forced us to lockdown, mask up, and socially distance ourselves from family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. As we head into the end of May, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  People are getting vaccinated, and the rate of infection is down.

One positive sign is that our Hyatt Business Partners are seeing an increase in reservations and events.  That makes us happy – because Hyatt has been so good to our program, and the individuals that we serve.  For over 23 years Hyatt Hotels have hosted our PAID interns and given them the gift of Transferrable Skills, a Paycheck, and a Recent Employment Reference! Now it is time for us to give back to our Hyatt Family.  With community pride, we will offer our assistance with some temporary labor and candidates for permanent positions.  We will also encourage people to stay at Hyatt Hotels whenever they are traveling for business or pleasure.  We need to rally behind the folks that helped us grow Hands On @ Hyatt into a national model for work based learning experiences.  Hyatt’s Purpose is “Care for People so they can be their BEST”.  And that’s why they are the BEST Hotel Chain in the World.

Now that the pandemic is subsiding, we look forward to “getting the band back together” in Miami, Austin, Tampa, Orlando, and Palm Springs.  Plans are underway in these locales, and we should be starting again soon in other cities across the country.  Thanks again to our partners at Hyatt and Vocational Rehabilitation.  We couldn’t do what we do without YOU!

John Ficca, Director

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Meaning and Purpose of Life

Someone recently posted a quote that touched my very soul. Not because it was a new or foreign concept to me, it was just an exceptional way to express a message that is already part of my belief system. The quote was from Pablo Picasso, and it reads as follows:

The MEANING of Life is to find your gift
The PURPOSE of Life is to give it away

Sometimes your gift is something that you share with the community – a more personal expression given to family, friends, and people you meet. Some gifts can even be used at work and home. The most special gifts are the ones that become your life’s work. This allows you to feel like you are not working at all, because you truly love what you do professionally.  And that is my hope for our students, to find their gifts, as well as their niche in life. We encourage them to identify their strengths / gifts and then utilize them in various aspects of their daily lives.

Have you found your gift? If so, I hope that you are giving it away freely.

John Ficca
Program Director

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The New Norm in Rehab?


The pandemic has certainly forced everyone to do things differently.  In February, people were thinking that this might last a couple months.  By April, the only certainty was that there was no end in sight.  The crisis caused businesses to close and the travel industry to come to a halt. May showed some promise, but Memorial Day activities created another spike in infections.  Like many businesses, Rehab Agencies were serving their clients remotely and Community Service Providers were doing as much as they could do, albeit virtually.  But how much can you do when everybody is sheltering in place and there are no employers hiring the clients that we serve?

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Hands On @Hyatt – Diversity and Inclusion in Action

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. 

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