When The Yorktowne Hotel reopened its doors in February, it was welcomed by not only several years of community and philanthropic support, but by a new wave of employees eager to create their own Yorktowne Story.
Like the redevelopment of the hotel, building the pathways for a career in the hospitality sector was not done overnight. With the support of community organizations and intentional partnerships, the York County Economic Alliance partnered with the York County Industrial Development Authority, Crispus Attucks and York College of Pennsylvania to develop the inaugural John A. Lambert Hospitality training program. Named after the longest tenured employee of the hotel, who provided over 60 years of dedicated service, this program offers an opportunity for any individual to connect with industry training courses and coaching at no cost to them.
Classes were taught by industry professionals in English and Spanish at Crispus Attucks. In total, 53 participants achieved over 100 certiﬁcates from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute in the focuses of Guest Service, Restaurant Server, Kitchen Cook, Maintenance Employee, Guestroom Attendant, and Front Desk Representative. 56% of individuals who achieved certiﬁcates resided in the city and 44% in other parts of York County. 74% of the participants were individuals of color, 68% were women, and 30% elected to take the modules in Spanish.
After completing the program, Perla Lopez de Cabrera was hired with the Yorktowne’s food and banquet team. Perla came to the program through her connections with CASA and was one of the individuals that took the training in Spanish. “I am excited to grow my career here,” shared Perla. With no prior experience in the hospitality sector, Perla felt that the classes and support provided her with the encouragement to apply for a career at the hotel.
Thatiana Baez, another graduate of the program, connected with this opportunity through her time as a BLOOM Small Business Student developing her textile rug company. Since then, she has launched her business and will be working out of the Creative York studio space, while still working at the hotel. “Downtown York is where I want to be,” said Thatiana. “Making these connections will not only beneﬁt me but also my goals in the future.”
This training program was made possible with the generous support from the Women’s Giving Circle and the Rotary Club of York. A special thank you to John Lambert’s and Michael Jefferson’s family for being part of the development of this program and its legacy.