Success Stories

Jerome Mitchell is a young African American man, born and raised in Boston by his single father. Jerome graduated from a Boston high school and started working at TJ Maxx, earning close to $10/hour with no benefits. As part of his training at BEST, he spent a week job shadowing at the five-star InterContinental Hotel. After graduation, he was hired by the Fairmont Copley Hotel as a Public Area Attendant. His duties include walking the hotel dog, Katie Copley, and tending to the bees in the rooftop hives. The hotel loves his smile and work ethic. He is making more than his father ever has, enjoys paid vacations and full benefits, and walks with pride and a sense of accomplishment. “This program,” Jerome says, “helped me see the future. I can now see myself 20 years from now … and I am a hotel worker.”

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Katrina Hines graduated from BEST on August 7, 2015. The following Monday, August 10, she met Lisa Brandi, Starwood Regional Talent Acquisition Manager at our Job Fair. On August 18, she was asked to apply for a housekeeping position at the Sheraton. She started working there in September, at the rate of $19.36/hour. For Katrina, moving from unemployed to employed changed her outlook on life: As a young African American woman growing up with different jobs like working at Save-a-Lot and other retail stores, I developed a frustrated and negative outlook. I used to be a negative thinker, full of self-doubt. Now I have the confidence and tools to do what I need.” Katrina says her job has impacted her daughter: “We’re doing a lot more things now and situations that used to stress me out don’t anymore. I can tell she notices. And she’s reaping the benefits.”

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Margarida Jurgensen came to the United States in 2007 for a “better life for her kids”. She worked at a fast food chain for five years, earning $9.50/hour as an evening shift supervisor. We first met Margarida when she interviewed for the BEST Room Attendant Program. In her interview, she broke down in tears and told us, “This isn’t a better life.” Margarida completed BEST’s Room Attendant Training in 2012. She obtained a job at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where she makes $20.28/hour and her employer pays an additional $9.41/hour into her benefit plan. She is actively looking to buy a house with the $10,000 first-time home buying grant that is part of her benefits program. When asked about BEST’s training, Margarida said, “It was like going from zero to 100.”