DCS and Hyatt team up to employ disabled workers

MD-hyatt hires 2x vocation 2-091715

Special to Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
Director of Human Resources Holly Fleming Gilpin, seated, and Human Resources Manager Jacquelyn Wongus work to place individuals with disabilities in jobs at the Hyatt Regency resort

CAMBRIDGE — “Individuals with disabilities just want to be accepted,” Holly Gilpin said. “They just want to contribute.”

Ms. Gilpin is director of Human Resources at the Hyatt Regency resort, where workers with disabilities have found employment with the help of training agencies including Delmarva Works, a division of Delmarva Community Services, Inc.

“The Hyatt has been so receptive to our working together,” Delmarva Works Counseling and Placement Specialist/Assistant Manager Bob Howard said. “They welcomed us with open arms.”

At Delmarva Works, adult individuals with disabilities learn job and life skills to prepare them for employment. Some work in the facility at 1000 Goodwill Ave. in Cambridge, helping to make the new greenhouse a success.

Others are members of a cleaning crew that visits various DCS sites daily. Then there are men and women including Dominique Bailey, who take their skills into the mainstream job market.

Mr. Bailey is a steward at the Hyatt, where he is enjoying his job and staying active. “I like it. I like to do things,” he said.

The Hyatt and DCS have been cooperating for about two years. The resort offers many services to its guests, so there are quite a few fields a new hire can try.
Job shadowing is one way someone with a disability can learn about a career. The individual will attend a job for two to four weeks, with a job coach such as Mr. Howard accompanying him, to see if he is interested in doing that kind of work.
“We’re trying to get them community-oriented jobs,” Mr. Howard said.

Several of the trainees at Delmarva Works have gone through the job shadowing process.

“We’ve had clients in golf, stewarding…almost every place in the hotel,” Ms. Gilpin said.

There are benefits to the Hyatt’s employment of individuals with disabilities. For one thing, “We want to keep it local,” Ms. Gilpin said, noting the resort’s desire to hire workers from the area.

She also pointed out that someone with a disability is often willing to begin a career at a basic level and work his or her way up, or even to stay at that entry-level job. “We think it’s worth it, because they’ll stay,” Ms. Gilpin said.
The support offered by an organization such as DCS is also a positive aspect of the arrangement. “The greatest thing about working with an agency, is they bring a job coach,” Ms. Gilpin said.

That coach will not only work with the individual as he or she learns the new job, but will return to help smooth over any issues that might develop.
The workers with disabilities have had a warm welcome from the rest of the staff. “People don’t think anything about it,” Ms. Gilpin said. “They don’t treat them any differently.”

One bonus to hiring a client of Delmarva Works is that as a division of DCS, there are extensive transportation options available to the worker, whether in the regular public transportation system or by using some of the special rides offered by the organization.

The cooperation between DCS and the Hyatt is continuing, and is resulting not only in enriching the lives of individuals with disabilities, but is also helping them to become productive, tax-paying members of society.

“Everybody has been so great with their patience,” Mr. Howard said.

“We’re just trying to give them an opportunity to work,” Ms. Gilpin said.

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