Destination DC welcomes 14 DEI fellowship business members and two apprentices

Americas News
Destination DC welcomes 14 DEI fellowship business members and two apprentices

Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organisation for Washington, DC, has continued its commitment to the diversity, equity and inclusion agenda by supporting small minority-owned local businesses and working to further expose students of colour to hospitality careers.

“As we look at rebuilding the tourism and hospitality industry that has been severely impacted during the pandemic, we need to do so equitably,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO, DDC. “We’re always focused on how tourism supports local, small businesses, as well as the image of our industry as young people enter the workforce.”

The inaugural DEI Business Fellowship programme supports local businesses owned by people of colour, LGBTQ+, women and disabled persons. Fellows receive a free, one-year membership to DDC, which provides access to marketing support and networking opportunities. Applications for the DEI Fellowship 2023 cohort will be available in the fall.

“As a former hospitality professional, I know the immense global reach of DDC,” said Tyra Marshall, founder of The Sales Liaison. “As a new solo entrepreneur in DC, it’s an invaluable resource to access the hotels I once worked in. I’m grateful for the education and support of Destination DC and I’m honoured to represent the inaugural DEI cohort.”

DDC also welcomes apprentices Jamar Root (pictured) and Zoe Roberts as part of an apprenticeship programme through Tourism Diversity Matters, an organisation focused on creating DEI opportunities at all levels of the tourism and hospitality workforce. The programme engages underrepresented and ethnically diverse college students by providing hands-on experience in tourism and hospitality. DDC’s Ferguson serves as board chair of the non-profit.

Ferguson added there was “prime opportunity especially in DC where there’s a labour shortage of 21,000 jobs in hospitality due to the pandemic according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

Jamar Root is currently a senior at the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, where he serves as a student ambassador and helps advise students on internship opportunities. He is also the founder and host of ‘The Root of Everything’ sports podcast.

“I’m excited for the apprenticeship at DDC and look forward to exploring different areas of the sports and tourism industry,” said Root.

Zoe Roberts is a senior at George Mason University where she is working toward a degree in Tourism & Events Management. During high school she was a member of the Academy of Hospitality & Tourism at Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, DC and held a summer internship with the American Experience Foundation, DDC’s official affiliated non-profit.

“Following graduation, I hope to enrol in a certification programme to continue my growth as an events and tourism professional,” said Roberts.

DDC’s mission and commitment to diversity, inclusion and equality also includes the American Experience Foundation, its 501c-3 (US tax-exempt) non-profit focused on providing scholarships and career experience to local students. This spring, AEF will surpass $100,000 awarded as part of 42 scholarships over the past eight years.

Washington, DC has a ‘DEI District’ launched in 2021 that provides curated content focused on how DC can be experienced through a DEI lens.

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World. Write Paul an E-mail

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