MCLEAN, VA—A first job can leave an imprint. It’s a pathway for education where young people learn numerous skills, ranging from professional dress to customer service to teamwork. With a goal to be the most hospitable company in the world, Hilton Worldwide has signed on as a founding member of the White House First Job Compact. As part of this initiative, the brand will further expand its partnerships with nonprofits, school districts, workforce-development boards and others to identify, recruit and employ opportunity youth—out-of-school, out-of-work young people—in the regions where it operates.
“Given these objectives, we eagerly answered President Obama’s call to sign the First Job Compact as this is completely in line with our previous commitments to connect, prepare and employ young people around the world,” said Matt Schuyler, Hilton’s chief human resources officer. “Hilton has a long history of creating opportunities for young people. In 2014, we announced a formal commitment to impact at least one million young people around the globe by 2019. Our initiative includes preparing young people for success through mentorships, apprenticeships and an innovative career-awareness program, [email protected], as well as by employing them directly across all parts of our business.”
For Hilton Worldwide President and CEO Chris Nassetta, it was working in the engineering department of a Washington, DC-based hotel that ignited his passion for the hospitality industry and paved the way to a lifelong career.
“It was definitely a challenging job where, among other things, I got to learn the finer points of plunging toilets. Even at that early age, I learned so many things about the inner workings of a hotel and what it takes to build a really great culture in this business,” said Nassetta in a YouTube video where he shared his first job experience. “It’s all about the people…”
When it comes to youth unemployment, the struggle is real and there are many who just need a helping hand. But left unaddressed, youth unemployment jeopardizes the future of the global economy, noted Schuyler.
“According to one estimate, there may be as many as 290 million 15-to-24-year-olds around the world who are not participating in the labor market. This number is almost the size of the entire U.S. population. These underutilized minds could be making our communities stronger and bringing new solutions to the world’s biggest challenges,” said Schuyler. “The crisis is the result of many factors. In some countries, it’s cultural—such as girls not receiving the same schooling or job opportunities. In others, it’s related to poor economic conditions or geopolitical issues like the refugee crisis. Another layer to this issue is the skills gap. Across the globe, one thing is certain: We are not investing nearly enough energy or resources in preparing and creating opportunities for youth.”
The White House administration has released a set of best practices to assist companies in hiring and supporting youth. The outlined plan includes identifying jobs and internships, partnering with organizations to recruit youth, and a communications strategy for sharing the outcomes of the initiative. Hilton is ready to get involved as the project is closely aligned with the brand’s goal of creating heartfelt experiences for guests, meaningful opportunities for team members, high value for owners and a positive impact in communities, noted Schuyler.
“We have a business imperative and responsibility to develop solutions to prevent a lost generation of young people. That’s why we are working to connect youth to industries like ours that need their ideas and their energy. It’s also why we are helping them acquire the life skills and job training needed to be successful in the workplace and beyond,” said Schuyler. “We expect to hire thousands of team members over the next few years in support of our continued growth worldwide. We’re focused on bringing in diverse top talent and supporting veteran and youth opportunity programs across our business.”