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Danny Meyer’s Recipe for Success

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The secret ingredient to the success of restaurateur Danny Meyer is culture. As his company has evolved from a single restaurant to an empire — including multiple restaurants, the Shake Shack chain, and a venture capital fund — the focus has been as much on how people are treated as on how the food tastes. Meyer’s career provides a case study on how companies can scale slowly while maintaining the culture that has given the company an edge. And whether culture takes the form of being the first to eliminate tipping or advocating for higher wages, it has given Meyer’s company, USHG, a platform to lead. See also “Building a Culture of Hospitality: Danny Meyer’s Team Prepares for Service.”
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Hospitality Apprenticeship Offers Bostonian a Path to Success

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Hadia Diallo of South Boston enrolled at Quincy Junior College after high school. To afford tuition, she worked – as a teacher’s assistant at a local after-school program, a visitor’s experience associate at the Boston Children’s Museum, and a security officer – which meant that she could not attend school full time.

“After balancing school and work for so many years, I was stuck on what to do next,” said Hadia, now 25. “I knew that I wanted to go back to school and become successful, but I needed something to help me get back on track.”

As a housekeeping apprentice, Hadia is on her way to her dream job.
       As a housekeeping apprentice,
       Hadia is on her way to her dream job.

Hadia’s husband had graduated from the BEST Hospitality Training Center’s pre-apprenticeship program in 2015, and by December 2017 he had advanced to a supervisor position at a luxury hotel in Boston.

After seeing her husband’s success, Hadia decided to try it for herself.

She applied and was accepted into the 6-week housekeeping pre-apprenticeship. As part of her training, she shadowed employees at two luxury hotels in Boston. Upon completion of the program, she was hired by a waterfront hotel as a housekeeping apprentice based on her excellent performance.

The paid apprenticeship includes 2,000-hours of on-the-job training coupled with formal instruction, and the opportunity to earn up to 12 credits at Bunker Hill Community College. Apprentices like Hadia can take additional courses in the college’s Hotel/Restaurant Management program at a substantially reduced rate through an agreement with BEST.

“I was looking for a career path and a great job where I can continue to learn,” said Hadia. “This program helped me to get a job at one of the best hotels in the city, the skills to be successful ‒ and I like interacting with guests.”

Today Hadia is learning the housekeeping and customer service skills she needs to pursue her dreams, which include a good-paying job, a college degree, and career advancement. Ultimately, she hopes to become a supervisor.

“This program has been life-changing,” said Hadia. “I’ve been learning new skills and making connections that have put me on a path to a career.”

James Lally is a deputy director in the Department’s Office of Public Affairs in Boston.

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U.S. Department of Labor Blog

SHARP Success: McGregor Industries

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McGregor Industries Inc. is a fourth generation family-run business based in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, that fabricates and installs metal products for buildings. Under the leadership of owner Robert R. McGregor, the company has worked to take safety and health to the next level through OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), which recognizes small business employers who have used OSHA On-Site Consultation Program services and operate an exemplary safety and health program.

Following an internal audit of their safety program, McGregor contacted PA OSHA Consultation for help. The PA Consultation representative determined that lockout/tagout procedures, safety data sheets, and training needed to be updated.

From left: Dave Maurer, Josh Schwarztrauber, John Stewart, Brian Florovito, Basil Kutch, Jim Wallo, Mike Carrotto, Mike Phillips, Dave Callis, Jacob Schwarztrauber, Jeremy Black, George Lionsky, Caitlin Chambers, Ed Kalinski, Foreman John Wallo
From left: Dave Maurer, Josh Schwarztrauber, John Stewart, Brian Florovito, Basil Kutch, Jim Wallo, Mike Carrotto, Mike Phillips, Dave Callis, Jacob Schwarztrauber, Jeremy Black, George Lionsky, Caitlin Chambers, Ed Kalinski, Foreman John Wallo

The consultant recommended that the company work toward earning acceptance into SHARP. Working closely with the consultant, a team of managers and employees integrated a new safety and health program and reporting system. Additionally, through a more comprehensive training program, employees are better able to identify and report hazards.

Since becoming a SHARP participant, the company has significantly reduced serious injuries – and the benefits of having trained professionals on-site extends beyond a safer workplace. “Our employees felt a great sense of pride being part of the process and achieving the SHARP certification,” explained Chief Financial Officer Joseph Murray. “It’s a win for all involved.”

OSHA Consultation projects are operated by states, and provide small businesses with free, confidential safety and health services. Additional information about OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program and other small business resources is available at www.osha.gov or by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).

Shariq Marshall, an intern in the Department’s Office of Public Affairs in Philadelphia, helped adapt this story from OSHA’s collection of SHARP success stories.

Authors: 

U.S. Department of Labor Blog

Generations of Apprenticeship Power Career Success

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Electrical apprenticeships have launched careers for three generations of this Georgia family.

Following in the footsteps of her electrician father, Betsy Ritch-Reed put on a hard hat and tool belt, and began an apprenticeship with the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) in the early 1980s.

As part of her on-the-job training, she assisted with specialized projects for the military in a pre-fabrication shop at Fort Benning, Georgia. After completing the Independent Electrical Contractors apprenticeship program, she worked as a licensed electrician for 11 years. In 1996, she took over her father’s business, Ritch Electric Co. Inc., in Columbus, Georgia. Today she oversees more than two dozen employees.

Betsy Ritch-Reed
      Betsy Ritch-Reed

Betsy has helped train the next generation of electricians as an instructor at Columbus Technical College and as a substitute instructor for the IEC apprenticeship program. She continues to hire and train electrical apprentices for her own business, as well.

Her advice to the next generation: Stick to your goals. “Whatever career you choose, do not let anyone tell you that you can’t do it,” said Betsy. “If you believe you can do it, you can.”

Her 22-year-old grandson, Blaine Reed, has followed in the family footsteps and has nearly finished the four-year IEC apprenticeship. The program involves paid on-the-job training under the supervision of an IEC contractor, as well as 576 hours of classroom instruction learning about topics such as residential wiring, electrical theory, how to interpret the National Electric Code, and grounding and electrical design. Upon completion, graduates are certified as an electrician by the IEC and can apply their trade throughout the country.

Betsy’s success has been a model for Blaine, who has seen how the electrical trade can provide a fulfilling career and a good living.

“Societies need great electricians to build a connected and lighted world,” said Blaine, who likes working with robots. Like his grandmother, he is taking on-the-job training at Fort Benning. One day he also would like to own his own business – one that focuses on programmable logic controllers, which are specialized computers used to control robots and other kinds of electromechanical systems or processes.

The outlook for electricians is bright, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which projects the occupation will grow 9 percent between 2016 and 2026. The IEC estimates there is a shortage of nearly 100,000 electrical workers across the country. Learn more about how to become an electrician via the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Eric R. Lucero is a deputy director in the department’s Office of Public Affairs in Atlanta, Georgia.

Authors: 

U.S. Department of Labor Blog

Passion for Cars Drives Apprentice Toward Success

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Alyssa poses in front of a car at work.
An apprenticeship has helped Alyssa Culver turn her passion for cars into a promising career path.

For collision repair technician Alyssa Culver, 22, working on cars is in her genes. She inherited her passion from her father, grandfather and great-grandfather − and she is on track to make them very proud.

Since she was a little girl, Alyssa has helped her father work on cars at her family’s business. With a passion for the work, but no interest in attending a four-year college or incurring student loan debt, she enrolled at Universal Technical Institute.

“Attending UTI is one of the most important things I did,” she said

Her apprenticeship taught her the basics and paved the way for her current profession as a collision repair technician at the Spring, Texas, location of Service King, which has a vested interest in her success.

“The support system is the best part,” Culver said. Service King provides dedicated veteran technicians to oversee the apprentices and, according to Culver, that helps her quite a bit.

“Service King’s Apprentice Development Program is a longtime vision of our organization. We take immense pride in creating opportunities for all of our teammates, especially the next generation of skilled technicians,” said CEO Chris Abraham. Since its inception, the program has graduated 125 apprentices.

“The demand for technicians in this industry is well documented, so we are particularly proud of the success of this program and the early classes that have graduated from it,” said Abraham. Employment for automotive service technicians and mechanics is projected to grow 6 percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Culver says the dedicated support from Apprenticeship Supervisor Al Scott and her other colleagues contributes to her success. Culver, in turn, does the best possible work she can.

According to Tyra Bremer, Service King’s vice president of talent development, Culver impressed her fellow apprentice technicians and other employees with her drive, ambition, and pride in her craft.

“I am hard on myself. I am trying to perfect everything,” Culver says. In the future, she hopes to move up within her company, and maybe even manage a Service King location one day.

Editor’s note: Alyssa Culver’s story is one example of an effective workforce program in action. View more success stories here.

Juan J. Rodriguez is a public affairs specialist for the Labor Department in Dallas

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U.S. Department of Labor Blog

The Workforce Recruitment Program: Where Success Comes Full Circle

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ODEP staff pose with colleagues in front of a sign at a USBLN public event.
Lauren Karas (center front) poses with colleagues at the USBLN 2016 annual conference.

During my junior year at Elon University, I was searching for a summer internship in the District of Columbia, reviewing  job openings, and pursuing  numerous leads when I had a breakthrough. I reached an incredibly helpful job placement coordinator in the U.S. Social Security Administration, who told me about an initiative called the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP).

The job placement coordinator walked me through the virtues of the WRP, explaining that it helps place college students and recent graduates with disabilities, like me, in internships and permanent jobs in the federal and private sectors.

Here’s how it works: The WRP serves as a pipeline for employers to find qualified employees. Students are pre-screened and interviewed before being accepted into the database, which is updated annually. Employers can choose to hire students for permanent positions or summer jobs. Of course, internships enable employers to determine whether a student’s skills and abilities are a good fit before making a decision about whether to hire permanently. 

Students benefit, too, since the program offers greater exposure to a wide range of employers, provides real-world work experience, and gives them a foot in the door to permanent employment.

This tip from the job placement coordinator led me to an internship in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), which manages the WRP in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense. It was a valuable and rewarding three months that offered me the chance to gain hands-on experience working on a range of issues and projects.

My internship in ODEP familiarized  me  with everything the WRP has to offer, and I helped my university take steps to officially participate in the program. During my senior year, I advanced through the WRP’s screening and interview process, ultimately securing an enriching internship with the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ National Cemetery Association, which led to a full-time job. Later, I pursued and secured my current position as a business development specialist in ODEP.

Today, not only am I back in the agency that gave me my first foot in the door, but also I’m actually managing the WRP, connecting other students with disabilities across the nation.

As you can imagine, the WRP is an initiative that’s close to my heart. Since the program launched governmentwide  in 1995, thousands of people have obtained positions through it. And many of them, like me, advanced to become full-time federal employees.

The 2018 WRP database is now available, and includes more than 2,100 highly qualified students and graduates from more than 300 colleges and universities, representing a range of academic majors and career interests. I feel so lucky to know the value of the WRP from both sides − as a manager of the program and as a former participant. It’s my hope that more employers will reap its rewards, and that more students with disabilities use it as a gateway to a rewarding career. 

Editor’s note: Federal employers can request a password to log into the WRP at wrp.gov. Private-sector employers interested in taking advantage of the WRP to fill anticipated short- or long-term staffing needs and diversify their workforce should contact the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion for access.

Lauren Karas is a business development specialist in DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

Authors: 

U.S. Department of Labor Blog