Ritz-Carlton: Can Skills-Based Volunteering Help End the Dropout Crisis?
By Sue Stephenson, VP, Community Footprints, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company for CSRwire
One in four public school children drop out before they finish high school. For African-American and Hispanic students, the likelihood of graduating is closer to 50 percent. Many of these students don’t have access to positive role models, cannot envision a career, and don’t feel connected to their communities. Tragically, young people who drop out are much more likely to be unemployed, incarcerated or live in poverty.
To help address this dropout crisis, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, along with America’s Promise Alliance launched Succeed Through Service, a pro-bono skills-based volunteering program to better prepare at-risk students for a successful future.
Creating the Blueprint, Choosing a Partner
In early 2009, while evaluating a number of our existing hotel-specific youth engagement programs at The Ritz-Carlton Hotels in New York, Jakarta, New Orleans, Singapore and Phoenix, we were struck by the great amount of positive feedback we were getting from students, teachers and employees.
The question we wanted to answer was: how do we scale the individual programs to create a brand-wide systematic approach to youth engagement?
We chose America’s Promise Alliance as our partner, recognizing that the combined core competencies of both organizations would enable us to develop a strong curriculum that could help at-risk students flourish. Research showed that we needed to include a balance of career exploration, life-skills and service-learning to make the most impact.
With this in mind, we formulated a curriculum based on multi-cultural career and life-skills training models and incorporated modules focused on community impact. That led to the creation of the Succeed Through Service blueprint, which paired our employees with at-risk students to teach them critical life and career skills while introducing them to the importance of giving back.
Employees in the Classroom: Operationalizing Succeed Through Service
The Succeed Through Service curriculum took six months to develop. In advance of the program being launched at all Ritz-Carlton locations around the world, we worked with the hotels to identify schools or children’s organizations in low income communities that would be the most effective partners. In the U.S., the program is now deployed at 38 schools and has been culturally adapted and introduced at an additional 42 schools and children’s organizations around the world.
Learn more about Ritz-Carlton’s Succeed Through Service initiative and how it is helping engage employees, build leadership skills and help end our country’s dropout crisis, on CSRwire Talkback.
Published: July 30, 2012 By: