20 Years of Helping Youths with Disabilities Find Meaningful Careers

June 3, 2010
Bridges Student Christina Alexion with Terry Bradshaw and Richard Marriott July marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, something our company has supported with all our heart and soul.  After all, we are in the hospitality business and we welcome everyone.

That’s why last night I attended a very special event we hold each year, the annual fund raising dinner in Washington, D.C., to support Bridges from school to work.  It’s a program that is run by the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities and is chaired by my brother Richard.  The purpose of the program is to help young people with disabilities, ages 17-22, make the tough transition from school into satisfying and rewarding jobs and careers.


This year’s event was extra special because the program celebrated its 20th anniversary, just like the Americans with Disabilities Act. Over the years, Bridges has helped place 12,000 young adults into jobs with 3,000 different employers across nine different cities in the United States.

We started Bridges to offer career guidance for young people with disabilities so they can compete in today’s work environment and have meaningful careers.  Bridges also helps employers tap into a valuable, but often overlooked, pool of terrific employees.

Pro football hall of fame legend, author, actor and TV sportscaster Terry Bradshaw was on hand to help us celebrate Bridges’ success.  He’s a terrific speaker – compassionate with a great zest for life.  We also honored our employer of the year, UPS.  They have employed more than 340 Bridges students since they started working with our program and have provided great opportunities for these students to excel.

Last night’s dinner was a big success with contributions totaling more than $1.2 million. That’s really incredible!  I want to specially thank the ad agency mcgarrybowen, who was a co-sponsor and did a wonderful job of bringing in new contributors.  We had a great turnout thanks to our many terrific partners that work with us to ensure these students find enjoyable, meaningful long-term work.

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

20 Years of Helping Youths with Disabilities Find Meaningful Careers





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Mr. Bill Marriott:

Thank you for making my day. There should be not reason at all for people in 2011 to have to re-address issues that were resolved years ago. All good business seeks out the best people they can find, and makes accommodations for them in order to run their organization in the most efficient and comfortable manner. The problem is that the general public and the government has made life more difficult for our youth with disabilities as well as adults, elderly, and retirees in terms of transportation, beautiful and elegant solutions that serve your clientele and serious lack of understanding and concern for a population that is aging, and is a huge market opportunity. You have done this and continue to do so. Raising the bar and keeping it high is something to be proud of. Everyone benefits. I did not know about this endeavor of yours, although I have known many excellent employees who always put people first. There is more that can be done now. How do we continue a dialogue? Thank you for considering this.

I so need to visit your hotels in Bellevue WA and job develop. I have several capable clients with disabilities that want to work in the hotel business. I just need to know how to get past that front desk and talk to the appropriate people.

Mr. Marriott,

As a government worker for over 33 years I always tried to stay at Marriott hotels not only for their quality and points, but also because of what you, your family, and Marriott stand for and have invested in communities and your staff. I had many a discussion with your staff who verify all that is in your blog.

I'm retired due to disabilities.If you haven't yet done so I suggest you partner with the federal government which has made progress, but needs to come a long way in hiring people with disabilities.

Regarding Haiti, I'm leading our local church's partnership with a parish in Haiti. As you are aware there is no functioning infrastructure in Haiti. Leaders like you need to step forward and take a chance on building a hotel, factories, and office buildings to help the people of Haiti make the major cultural step up if they stand a chance of improving their lives. While a business risk, there are billions of dollars in aid and people trying to help. Lack of a hotel and meeting facilities hinders this effort.

Please keep up all the good work you do and providing great places around the world to work and play!

Mr. Marriott, I know this is an old topic but there is something I would like to share with you. A few years back I used to work for the University of South Florida as a research assistant and we held a meeting to train service providers that work with people with disabilities providing job coaching and helping them to find jobs. One of the excersises we had planned asked for them to go into real life scenarios so we needed to find local business that will allow the participants to interact with business people and apply what they had learned during the training.I asked the General Manager of the property if he could help us, he went totally out of his way to do so; he had several department heads lined up to explain what the different functions at the hotel were, he had his human resource director talk to some of our participants. It was better than what we could have ever expected!!! I feel that Marriott is a company that is not all talk but in reality cares for people with disabilities.
I am currently involved in school to work initiatives with High School students with the Florida Department of Education, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and I if possible I would love to have more information in regards to the Bridges program, I feel it will be a wonderful thing for Florida. Thank you and keep up the good work!!!

Fairfield Inn's are independently owned, and do work as efficiently to supply most needs of there guest, and I have always enjoyed my stays at all levels of Marriott's Hotels and resorts, but Residence Inns by Marriott's are the home away from home, and all have spacious rooms with full kitchens, my favorite place to stay, as I am a diabetic, and need a refrigerator, and the full breakfast is always a great start, or good to take to go.

the caloric indate would be nice at a .5% level.

Interesting - I'm trying to make a reservation at a Fairfield Inn in Indiana - a room with a refrigerator. I bring food for a family member with food allergies. And the Fairfield Inn will NOT guarantee me a refrigerator. Why is that???


Sir,
That's the great sharing of humanity. Thank you.

As a manager, I'd like to thank Marriott for continuing to provide support for employees like Christina Alexion. I hired her four and a half years ago, and LaShane at the local Bridges office has kept tabs on her ever since. The event last week was great and I am honored to be associated with this great cause.

glad you support the ADA however, i have stayed in 5 of your properties in the last month with my husband who has ALS the accommodations have been inconsistent in terms of his disability. your staffs have been incredibily accomodating facilities have not. do you have a person in charge of your hadnciap accessible accommodations that i could contact to make some recommendations? (if not maybe you should consider having a person on your staff who could do that for your) we love marriott and stay in your properties all the time (except when traveling with our dogs)

Marriott does things right! Proud to be a shareholder long-time Marriott guest/fan!

Such a kind sharing of humanity!

There is nothing quite so rewarding as witnessing the teaching of new skills to a young person with disabilities and then seeing those newly discovered abilities put to use in a productive endeavor. That is exactly what the Marriott family has provided through "Bridges from School to Work". I was fortunate in being a small player in the first Bridges outreach program in San Francisco. As a Marriott employee I got linked up with this outstanding endeavor and will always be thankful for the experience of seeing such joy from all the young people who benefited from this enriching and charitable program.

I am long retired now but I still tingle all over from the memories and will be ever grateful to Bill and Dick Marriott and the family foundations for their outstanding generosity to "Bridges" and to "Children's Miracle Network", among many charities they support. Look up and read about the contemporary Marriott family and you will understand their focus on young people with disabilities. It will fill your heart.

The blog understates the power of the work Bridges does with young people and does not convey the scope and size of last night's dinner.

The clip of Mr. Bradshaw does not convey the excitement and manic delivery of his speech which I think entertained all.