A New Collective Impact Approach Offers Inclusive Entry-Level Opportunities
for the Meetings and Events Industry
Our industry is committed to providing more job opportunities for all individuals. For those interested in pursuing a career in event planning or tradeshow management, an apprenticeship program may be your best first stop to gain hands-on experience working with an industry event association, event company, a facility, and perhaps a University.
I know this firsthand because I was one of the inaugural participants in the Apprenticeship program developed by SearchWide Global, in partnership with Destinations International, International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) and SportsETA.
Being afforded the opportunity to be a participant in the Visit Baltimore Education & Training Foundation’s Diversity Apprenticeship paved a way to tremendous professional and developmental opportunities that I was able to take advantage of to propel my career in the events industry.
Upon completing the Apprenticeship Program, I was temporarily placed with SearchWide Global (the leading executive search and recruiting firm in the hospitality industry), until I was able to secure a full-time opportunity. With the collaborative efforts of Visit Baltimore and SearchWide Global, I landed a full-time role with the Baltimore Convention Center as a Sales and Services Coordinator. With the professional relationships I had developed while working with SearchWide Global, I received the opportunity to work as a Guest Services Agent at the Lord Baltimore Hotel part-time while working full-time with the Baltimore Convention Center.
Through my passion to be a fierce leader in the events space; within less than a year of being a Guest Services Agent, I was promoted to a Guest Services Supervisor and then ultimately a Conference Services Manager, which was a dream come through thanks to the tremendous network of leaders in my life who supported and believed in my abilities to be a great asset to the events industry.
Fast forward 4 years, and I am honored to lead the Apprenticeship program for Tourism Diversity Matters (TDM) which launched February 1, 2021. TDM has a specific purpose, to inspire and create change for the tourism and events industry by collaborating with industry leaders to eliminate disparities through advocacy and education.
One of TDM’s four guiding pillars is the Apprenticeship program, designed to provide hands-on working experience to ethnically diverse apprentices interested in pursuing a career in the tourism and hospitality industry. The Tourism Apprentice Career Track (TACT) is comprised of three distinctive tracks, including meetings and events.
It’s wonderful to witness our industry stepping up for diversity, equity and inclusion. We are working collectively to advocate for our industry to be a leader in establishing an inclusive environment – one where everyone is welcome, there is equitable access for all, and everyone can be heard.
Our friends at Visit Baltimore recently revamped their Education & Training Foundation’s Diversity Apprenticeship Program and partnered with Baltimore-based Guinness Open Gate Brewery. The program allows the apprentice to gain valuable work experience by working in various departments of Visit Baltimore, Guinness Open Gate Brewery, and other local partners. The 600-hour, three-part paid internship will provide minority Baltimore community members a taste of what it’s like to work in the tourism and events industry. What’s equally exciting is that participants are guaranteed a position with a partner organization upon completion of the program with the support of Searchwide Global and TDM.
If you would like to learn more about the Apprenticeship program as a candidate or potential partner, please visit https://tourismdiversitymatters.org/apprenticeship/.
Author: Deedra Mills, PCMA Student Member
Managed by: Search Wide Global / Tourism Diversity Matters
Partners include: Destinations International, International Association of Venue Managers and SportsETA
Benefit: The candidates will receive 600 hours in hospitality industry experience with guaranteed employment! 400 hours w/Lead Destination and 200 shared between Partners in the tourism sector ranging from hotels to associations.
Commitment: 25-30 hours/week
Pay: starting at $15/hour
Questions: Contact Dana Johnston, Capital Chapter