Diversity in the travel and hospitality industries continues to be an area where much change is needed. In a 2020 survey conducted by Travel Weekly, 17% of whites and 61% of people of color reported that the fields are not diverse or inclusive enough and require serious reform and improvements.
While change has been slow, two organizations are now working together to promote increased equity, diversity and inclusion in the ever-burgeoning field.
On Jan. 11, Chicago-based tourism promotion company Choose Chicago and aviation giant United Airlines (No. 41 on The DiversityInc Top 50 companies for Diversity list in 2021) announced a new apprenticeship program to help emerging professionals from BIPOC communities build successful careers in the tourism and hospitality industries.
The Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Apprenticeship Program is funded by United Airlines with support from Tourism Diversity Matters (TDM). The all-new program is designed to support one lucky candidate per year enrolled in this competitive pilot program.
According to a spokesperson from Choose Chicago, the program will offer five distinctive specializations over the course of the apprenticeship (Global Development, Sports Commission, Marketing, Partnership, Sales & Services/Event Management). The individual selected for the program will also gain more than 600 hours of experience working within various departments at both Choose Chicago and United Airlines. They will be given a monthly stipend paid travel expenses during the apprenticeship duration. Upon successful completion of the program, the individual will be placed in a job with one of the organizations.
In a statement announcing the new program, Glenn Hollister, Vice President, Sales Strategy & Effectiveness at United Airlines, said: “We’re proud to partner with Choose Chicago as they launch the EDI Apprenticeship Program in support of their commitment to creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive world. Together, we’re collaborating in innovative ways to deliver on our shared vision of breaking barriers and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.”
“This is an extremely exciting and important organizational initiative to help make the tourism and hospitality industry more accessible and equitable,” added Glenn Eden, Chairman of Choose Chicago. “One of Chicago’s strengths is the diversity of our city, and it is critical that future leaders of our industry represent the diversity of our community. We are thrilled to be able to launch this with United Airlines given their longstanding commitment and leadership in this area.”
For more information on the Apprenticeship Program, click here.