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BSR 2012 Global Conference

Hyatt’s Brigitta Witt: Workforce training for 'favelas'

By Andrea Useem03 January 2013

This video and blog post are produced and published by Devex Impact, a global initiative by Devex and USAID focused on the intersection of business and global development that connects companies, organizations and professionals with the practical information they need to make an impact.

With close to 500 properties operating worldwide, Hyatt Hotels Corp. has a constant need to find, train and retain high-quality staff. As part of its Hyatt Thrive corporate responsibility program, the Chicago-based hospitality company seeks out disadvantaged but promising young people from Brazil’s favelas for training and, hopefully, employment.

Today more than 10 percent of employees at Brazil’s Grand Hyatt in Sao Paulo are graduates of that program, known as the Youth Career Initiative.

“And they are some of our most engaged and loyal employees,” said Brigitta Witt, Hyatt’s vice president for corporate responsibility.

Speaking with Devex Impact on the sidelines of the BSR annual conference in New York, Witt described what it takes to make this type of workforce program effective and scalable.

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About the author

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Andrea Useem

As Associate Editor and Content Director for Devex Impact, Andrea creates and manages cutting-edge content on the intersection of business and international development. An experienced multimedia journalist, Andrea served as leadership editor at the Washington Post and spent three years as a foreign correspondent in Eastern Africa reporting for publications including the Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, and San Francisco Chronicle.


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