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06/15/2012

Marriott Foundation Creates ‘Bridges’ of Job Opportunities for Thousands of Youth Nationwide

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ARAMARK Honored as Employer of the Year.

Just over 20 years ago, the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities launched the Bridges...from school to work® program to reduce the career gap for youth ages 17-22 with mental, physical and cognitive disabilities. Since its founding, the program has placed 13,500 young adults with more than 3,500 employers across the country.

[Check out these Bridges stories:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfyMoPboug8&feature=youtu.be and  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtTe4aQCSho.]

The U.S. Department of Labor says that approximately 33 million Americans have a disability and more than half are unemployed.  One Bridges employer partner, ARAMARK, the global professional services company, is helping to chip away at that unemployment number, averaging more than 40 Bridges hires annually. 

ARAMARK provides food services, facilities management, and uniform and career apparel to health care institutions, universities and school districts, stadiums and arenas, and businesses around the world.  Since 2000, Bridges has helped facilitate employment for more than 500 youth with ARAMARK.  The company was honored last evening during the Foundation’s annual fundraising gala. 

“We are honored to accept the ‘employer of the year’ recognition and commend the Marriott Foundation on their commitment to this program and supporting people with disabilities,” said Marc Bruno, President of ARAMARK Sports & Entertainment. “Providing meaningful employment for today’s workforce is important to ARAMARK. The youth we hire through the Bridges program are committed, dedicated and hardworking members of the ARAMARK team.  We look forward to continuing and growing our partnership with Bridges.”

Potential Bridges youth are identified by high school counselors and paired with staff from local Bridges offices. Each Bridges representative works directly with students on resume building, interviewing skills and more to help students secure a job, travel independently to and from work, and dress appropriately. Bridges staff then works with employers to identify jobs that match the skill sets of each student. Once a match is identified, Bridges staff coordinates with all parties to ensure a seamless transition into the work place.

“Bridges students have incredible potential and can make a substantial contribution to the workplace,” said Richard Marriott, founder and chairman, Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities.  “Thanks to the support from employers like ARAMARK and participating schools, we are able to prepare students for employment in meaningful jobs and help them fulfill their dreams.”

The Marriott Foundation’s Bridges…from school to work program is located in nine cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Montgomery County, Md., and Atlanta. For more information on the Bridges program or to make a donation, visit www.bridgestowork.org

Connect with felicia.mclemore@marriott.com