Shelley Van Buskirk, Employment Program Manager, Employment Services, City of Ottawa: An employment development initiative — what we do is we partner with local training providers and employers in order to provide short-term customized training that leads directly to sustainable employment.

Norm is one of the training providers that we partnered with. He provides hospitality training, and housekeeping and custodial work to clients that are in receipt of Ontario Works and also ODSP.

Norman McEvoy, Director, HT Hospitality Training: We’re doing some great national recognized training. The City is doing a great service by providing people that want gainful employment.

So we’re just introducing a lot of people and help them get jobs — not get them jobs, help them get jobs.

We’ve taken about 1,100 people off social services in the City of Ottawa.

Tia Salder, Front Desk Agent, Albert at Bay Suite Hotel: I was on Ontario Works. When it started it was only supposed to be, you know, a month, two months. It turned into six months, turned into a year.

Danika Christie, Front Desk Agent, Albert at Bay Suite Hotel: I was always working before, so I was used to working. But I just had a slump in my life where I felt depressed.

Jusleine Charles, House Keeping, Albert at Bay Suite Hotel: When I came here, I go to Ontario Works and I asked them to give me help.

I found the HT Hospitality Course through Ontario Works.

Went in for the interview, got right down to it — did the co-op position for four weeks.

And with their help, a year and a half later I’m still doing front desk at the same hotel, and I love my job.

John Cosentino, General Manager, Albert at Bay Suite Hotel: When it comes to trying to find workers, there’s always a challenge in trying to find the right worker, let alone trying to find a worker that has the skill set and the ability to do the job.

The beauty of the program that Hospitality Training offers is that the person, individual is already trained in the field that you’re looking for.

I believe everyone needs a break, one time in their life.

Being able to go out to dinner, being able to go see a movie, go do stuff with your money that you’ve earned and you’ve worked really hard for.

Sometimes I send money for my mother in Haiti. And now I’m happy.

It’s a great service for everyone.