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First-Of-Its-Kind Hotel Will Train, Employ People With Disabilities

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Jeff Huffman could no longer sit by and watch his son with Down syndrome get repeatedly denied employment opportunities. So, he decided to develop a job that had never before existed.

Huffman volunteers with the Arc of Indiana, an organization that empowers people with developmental disabilities. When the concerned dad proposed that the organization start a program that trains its clients to work in the hospitality industry, it enthusiastically accepted the challenge, according to the nonprofit’s blog.

The organization decided to build a Courtyard by Marriott unlike any other hotel in the hospitality industry, the Star Press reported.

The Muncie, Ind., hotel -- which is slated to open in the summer of 2015 -- will train people with disabilities, and will then give them a chance to apply those skills by working at the hotel. The venue expects that at least 20 percent of the jobs will be filled by people with a range of disabilities, according to the Disability Scoop.

The unemployment rate in the U.S. for people with disabilities in February was 16.8 percent -- more than double the rate for people without disabilities, according to the Department of Labor.

Considering that the hospitality industry added 80,000 jobs last year, and demands a wide range of skills, the Arc of Indiana thought this would be the ideal area to try and create work opportunities for its clients.

"As far as the typical guest experience, this Courtyard will be no different," Sally Morris of the Arc of Indiana told the Disability Scoop. "That said, this hotel will not just meet ADA standards, it will exceed them. Every decision we are making is meant to enhance the guest experience for all of our guests."

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