A pivotal moment in a refugee’s new life in the United States is securing his or her first job.
For Ramee, whose family fled persecution in Iraq, the JW Marriott Indianapolis has helped him realize his dream of working in Information Technology. Ramee started at the JW Marriott in housekeeping. “I was looking for a job in software development and IT,” he explained. “I was always at home on the computer. Exodus told me to start working at the JW and work my way up.” So he did. In the mean time, he kept looking for his dream job.
Many employers might be upset if they ran into a current employee at a Job Fair, but not the JW Marriott. Instead, the JW’s Human Resources Manager Tamra Marks asked Ramee for his resume and forwarded it to the Director of IT.
“The Director of IT said, ‘I’ll teach you in IT for one day and see how it goes,’” said Ramee. It went well. Soon, Ramee was splitting his time between housekeeping and IT.
“I thought, if I want to make a project, maybe I can do it here,” he said. I have an idea for something we can use in housekeeping.”
Working with the JW management team, Ramee implemented a software solution that took the housekeeping department from paper checklists to a web-based tracking system that provides information in real time. “He’s fully automated the process,” said Mie Young, Director of Human Resources. “He’s a computer genius. You just tell him the idea and he makes it happen.”
The JW Marriott has made a difference for dozens of refugees like Ramee over the years. We were thrilled to recognize them at our annual gala as the 2017 Employer of the Year Award. “They have unfailingly shown patience, flexibility, and compassion to every refugee who walks in the door,” said Erin Aquino, Exodus Employment Manager. “They take the extra time to to educate their new employees on American workplace norms and company policies. They also recognize individual talents and invest in their employees’ futures by promoting from within.”
For Reed, hiring refugees is the right thing to do. “Refugees have a great work ethic. It’s the quality of the people and the education. Diversity adds to our environment. It brings different talents.”
We cannot thank the JW Marriott enough for offering refugees a supportive work environment and a chance to succeed.