Students weigh in on aspects of hospitality ‘bootcamp’ most enticing to them through a dot voting exercise

In Washington DC, the fastest growing industry is hospitality and adult charter students who are still working on their GEDs are taking advantage of a great opportunity to blend their GED training with workforce training and possible college credit. The Education Design Lab is working with the city, Academy of Hope Charter school and three hotels (Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott) to create an “Entry Level Plus bootcamp.”  More than 30 learners from Academy of Hope attended the Lab’s design sessions to offer feedback and inform program design for the program launching in April.  What matters to them? Students said they transparency about the salary and benefits of career paths in hospitality are key to getting them interested. They also want opportunities for paid work and are looking for a sense of belonging, to be part of the team, even  during their training.

Through dot voting, discussion, and student survey tools learners emphasized their interest in credentials that would help them to communicate their preparation for work when they finished the program as the aspect of the program that most enticed them to participate, with exposure to career options and an established feedback loop for their ongoing skill development following close behind. Reflecting on the design process thus far, Lecester Johnson, Academy of Hope’s CEO shared following the session:

“I find this approach so helpful; in ~20 years of designing and launching programs, I know all too well what it’s like to develop a new program only to run into trouble with things that we didn’t think about later on. This really lets us test and learn along the way.”

The Lab reconvened with employers from Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott alongside partners from SUNY-Empire State College and Edgewood/Brookland Family Support Collaborative and Academy of Hope earlier last week to ensure that students are well prepared to communicate their abilities in ways that are meaningful to employers. Stay tuned as the team digs in for insights!

The project is funded through DC’s Office of the State Superintendent (OSSE) to take one of our prototypes into pilot with Academy of Hope, an adult charter school in Washington, DC.  Learn more about our work focused on Connected Pathways and download the Lab’s models here.