This Accessible Hotel Is Staffed by People With Disabilities
In the Italian city of Asti is a hotel staffed by people with disabilities. It’s called Albergo Etico. In English, it means “Hotel Ethics.”
Hotel Ethics began in 2009 as a restaurant internship for a boy with Down syndrome, according to a Google translation of the hotel’s website. It quickly blossomed into a hotel and restaurant that helps teach its employees independence.
The staff gain career training and learn crucial independent living skills during a three-year training program, where they live with their coworkers on the hotel property. The program fosters autonomy by teaching the staff to live with their peers and rely on each other rather than their families. A mentoring system gives newcomers a chance to work with the more experienced staff members.
Staff members serve in all kinds of positions including waiters, receptionists, sommeliers and tour guides, according to the website West, a European news website.
“When we present our project, in Italy and in the world, the first thing we say is, ‘Hotel Ethics is not voluntary, not handouts but a business project,’” Antonio De Benedetto, President of Hotel Ethics and Andrea Cerrato, Secretary of Hotel Ethics, told Free Moving, an Italian blog about disability. “We know that everyone has to make their own path and that the results can be totally different from each other, but at the same time we are aware that people with disabilities are a resource and not a cost.”
Appropriately, the hotel also makes accommodations for guests with special needs, including accessible parking and help with transfers involving wheelchairs or strollers. Tactile maps of the hotel are available for the visually impaired.
Check out some photos of Hotel Ethics below:
Hotel Ethics is tackling the problem of unemployment in the disability community at a time when services like these are sorely needed in all parts of the world. As of June 2015, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities in the United States is just over 9 percent. That’s nearly double the unemployment rate for people without disabilities, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.