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Hotel to Open First Program of Its Kind in the U.S. for People With Disabilities

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Make a plan to stay at this soon-to-be open hotel.

The Courtyard Muncie at Horizon Convention Center in Muncie, Indiana, will open with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 22. The hotel, developed by The Arc of Indiana, will provide essential job training for people with disabilities. Its program is the first of its kind in the U.S., according to a press release from the organization.

Members of the Erskine Green Training Institute, which provides vocational training for those in the hospitality, food service and health care industries, will be housed at the hotel. After going through the training program, participants will take on internships at the Courtyard, the Thr3e Wise Men restaurant at the hotel, and the nearby IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital.

At least 20 percent of the hotel’s 129-person staff will be people with developmental and other types of disabilities, Sally Morris, Assistant Director of Advancement with The Arc of Indiana, told Disability Scoop.

hotel at night
Image courtesy of Arc Innovations

“With the opening… we start a new chapter – one we believe will significantly change employment opportunities and postsecondary education options for people with disabilities,” Kim Dodson, executive director of The Arc of Indiana and Arc Innovations, said in the press release. “This project is only possible because so many people have come together to achieve this dream. We are making history that will forever change the lives of people with disabilities.”

People with disabilities are already employed in all areas of the operation including at the front desk, in housekeeping and at the on-site bistro and restaurant, Morris told Disability Scoop. “As others look at this model, and word spreads about the quality of the workers at the hotel, as well as the individuals who leave the institute and gain employment in their hometowns, we believe other businesses and industries will realize the value added of hiring people with disabilities,” Morris added.

The first class of trainees is set to begin Jan. 11.

Earlier this year The Mighty reported on Albergo Etico, or “Hotel Ethics” in Asti, Italy, which is staffed by people with disabilities. The staff at Albergo Etico follow a similar approach to the Courtyard hotel with a career training course, so clearly this strategy is working all over the globe.

For more information, visit The Arc of Indiana on Facebook and its website.

Originally published: December 19, 2015
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