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When THEY is YOU, things change.

Updated: Sep 23, 2022

A look behind CitiLife Development's workforce impact.


Waaaayyyyy too often, I hear people say "they just don't want to work!"

THEY. The way "they" insinuates separation and discord really p*sses me off! Waaaaayyyyy too often, the "they" that's being referenced are people that look like me. Black. Young. From neighborhoods where Uber requests often go ignored and access to produce that isn't wilted is iffy.

What's wild is that same "they" actually are people who I know are crazy talented creators, strong defenders, and resourceful providers who lead families and guard communities in spite of an economic boom, bust or even pandemic. "They" do it in the face of fear and in the shadow of trauma.

This summer, "they" proved this^^ to me, to our stakeholders and to themselves.

from left to right: James Dunn, Jordan Coe, Trevon Kelly, Taiyler Henderson-Thorpe, R'Breya Brooks, Aaishah Ballinger, Parris Rosier, Deja Bell, Kerrin Edwards, Glenda Lee, Samantha Leach

As part of DC's Department of Employment Services Office of Youth Programs East of the River Career Pathways program, my badass team - Shanttel Liberato, James Dunn, Samantha Leach, and I - led six intensive weeks of hospitality and financial literacy trainings, personalized coaching sessions, and provided overall support to aid in overcoming barriers to employment that "they" may experience.

We proudly celebrate "they" who are now AHLEI Certified Guest Service Professionals, employed by some of the city's top hotels - The Riggs, The Pendry DC, The Lyle, and pursuing continued education through the University of the District of Columbia's hospitality degree program.

Three things "they" taught me:

  1. WHY is more important than WHAT.

  2. WHERE can be a game-changer.

  3. WHO matters.

These lessons are considerations that I desire to impress upon industry leaders and hiring managers when we talk about "they."

"They" might be YOU.

"They" are definitely ME.

What do YOU think?

More career trainings should be offered for DC's young adults?

  • DEFINITELY! Establishing careers is good for all.

  • No, it's not worth the investment.

Elaborate in the comments below.

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