Marriott Opens Hotel School for People With Disabilities

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Courtyard by Marriott and the state of Indiana are doing their part to support people with disabilities by opening a teaching hotel geared toward workers with special needs.

The Courtyard Muncie at Horizon Convention Center in Indiana will open on Dec. 22, and “at least 20 percent of the Courtyard by Marriott hotel’s 129-person workforce will be people with developmental and other types of disabilities,” according to

People with disabilities will in different capacities from the front desk to housekeeping to the restaurant to management, said Sally Morris of Arc of Indiana, who helped organize the project and building of the hotel.

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Though the 150-room hotel will largely operate as a traditional hotel, it will also have a training institute to where people with special needs will study to learn the hospitality industry and intern at the hotel, starting Jan. 11. The hotel will also work with human resource professionals to help them better understand how to hire people with disabilities.

The idea was born when Jeff Huffman was frustrated by the lack of opportunity for his son, who has Down Syndrome. The project was partially funded by the state of Indiana, which has committed up to $5 million.

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“We believe the training institute and teaching hotel will significantly change employment opportunities and postsecondary education options for people with disabilities,” Morris told “As others look at this model, and word spreads about the quality of the workers at the hotel, as well as the individuals who leave the institute and gain employment in their hometowns, we believe other businesses and industries will realize the value added of hiring people with disabilities.”

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