Job training program for Marriott Marquis draws thousands of applicants

October 14, 2013

More than 2,000 people have applied so far to a job training program that aims to prepare 600 workers for positions at the Marriott Marquis convention center hotel that is to open in the District in 2014.

Goodwill of Greater Washington, which is overseeing the training program, has held 12 events in September and October to help would-be participants fill out applications and to have them take reading and math assessments.

“The candidates we’re getting are fabulous,” said Faith Tennent, a project director with Goodwill, because many of them have already worked in the hospitality industry or have other relevant work experience.

Tennent said applicants come from a variety of backgrounds: Some were recently laid off; others are already employed but looking for a second job to help make ends meet. She has seen homeless people come in to apply, as well as ex-offenders looking for their first job in years.

At a session held last Friday at University of the District of Columbia’s Shadd facility on East Capitol Street Southeast, more than 200 people applied by mid-afternoon, even as heavy rain made for lousy travel conditions.

Lisa Everett is one District resident who came to last week’s event.

While she currently has a job working as a security guard, “I think Marriott has more security,” Everett said. “I wanted something stable.”

Everett hopes to land a front desk position, because she said she likes the idea of being “the smiling face” that greets guests when they arrive.

Four application sessions are remaining, with the final one scheduled for October 25th. Applicants can also fill out the paperwork online.

Goodwill will then conduct in-depth interviews with applicants, the last step before it makes its final selections. The training program is set to get underway in December.

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.
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