WASHINGTON—Denihan Hospitality is introducing locals to the art of hospitality through The James Connection, a workforce development program at the soon-to-be-built The James Washington D.C.
“For this particular initiative, the goal is to allow members of the NoMa neighborhood to gain hands-on experience in the hospitality sector, while providing an avenue for Denihan Hospitality to form closer connections with the very same people who make this the special neighbored that it is,” said Chrissy Denihan, managing director, Denihan Hospitality. “The James Connection’s intention is to allow any individual—in high school or beyond—the opportunity to challenge themselves in a fast-paced environment while gaining insight into the values of The James brand.”
Throughout the company’s 55-year history, the team members at Denihan have prided themselves on being good stewards for the neighborhoods where the company’s properties are located.
“We look at our hotels as destinations that speak for the community by reflecting the values, legacies and cultures of each group through the designs, amenities and features we offer,” said Denihan. “We have launched similar community-based initiatives at our other properties, which have always been well-received, and we wanted to ensure the residents of the NoMa neighborhood understand how much their input and traditions are valued by our company. Having members of this community participate in The James Connection allows us to form closer bonds and connections with many individuals and groups in this vibrant neighborhood.”
The James Connection is intended to establish a mutually beneficial relationship between Denihan, its development partners and the local community. According to Denihan, everyone is welcome to apply. “We think the best candidates would be those who are up for trying something new. It’s also a good way to get accustomed to The James brand and understand the reasons it is the leading brand in the boutique hotel segment,” she said.
“This initiative aligns with the community-centric approach we have taken since the beginning, which involves establishing a presence—much more than just the hotel; it includes supporting local causes, monitoring the pulse of our neighbors, listening or lending a helping hand to those in need—and using our platform and properties to form deeper connections with our neighbors,” she said. “The goal of this program is to help the younger demographic gain valuable business experience, while allowing each participant to expand their skills and try something new.”
Participants in The James Connection will work closely with the hotel’s staff during pre-opening training week—slated for 2020—and will receive hands-on experience in a number of line staff and management hospitality roles including guest services, security, sales and marketing, and human resources.
“In an effort to keep with our ongoing commitment to educate young adults on the opportunities available to them in the hospitality sector, we will provide students of Eastern High School with mentorships, interview training, resume writing courses and the ability to learn in a fast-paced environment from established hospitality professionals,” she said.
The team at Denihan hopes that the participants will cultivate new skills and expand upon things they are already good at while gaining a greater appreciation for Denihan, The James brand, its employees, legacy and values.
“The intention of this program isn’t for individuals to walk away fully trained in how to run a hotel or work in hospitality,” she said. “Rather, it provides an opportunity to try something new, something different, and perhaps take what they learn and apply it to their own career. If some of the participants are convinced that a career in hospitality is what they want to do after participating in the program, we will provide them with the best recommendations and support to make that happen.”