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From Classroom to Boardroom, Paid Virtual Career Bridge Bootcamp Helps Local High School Seniors Prepare for Hospitality & Tourism Careers

American Experience Foundation & Destination DC host eight-week career development program

(Washington, DC) – In partnership with DC Public Schools (DCPS) and the Department of Employment Services (DOES), Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, and its affiliated 501(c)(3) public charity, the American Experience Foundation (AEF), launches its Career Bridge Bootcamp on March 15. The program runs through May 15 and will provide hospitality career education as well as an opportunity to build employability skills for 20 seniors attending Anacostia High School, Ballou STAY, Cardozo Educational Campus, Columbia Heights Educational Campus, Dunbar High School, Eastern High School, Roosevelt High School, Roosevelt STAY and H.D. Woodson High School. Participating students will be paid by DOES.


“It’s important that we invest in today’s youth because they will become tomorrow’s leaders,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO, DDC. “Discovering one’s career path requires support and mentorship and the American Experience Foundation is here to deliver that to our next generation of hospitality and tourism professionals. With few internship opportunities available right now, the Career Bridge Bootcamp will give these students the tools they need to successfully launch their post-high school careers.”


The COVID-19 pandemic has eliminated many internship opportunities in the tourism and hospitality industry, so DDC and AEF developed a career development bootcamp built to support DCPS high school students in the Career Bridge Program and attract them to the field. Hospitality professionals working in hotels, restaurants, attractions, sports, events and transportation will share their executive-level experience and lend tactical insights to students.  Each week, a partner organization will tap someone from their executive leadership, human resources department and general staff to give an inside look at working at the company, the skills needed for success and the career paths that are available. Partners include Smithsonian Institution, Washington Nationals, Donohoe Hospitality Services, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Clyde’s Restaurant Group and Encore Global. Heroic Headshots will supply each student with a free professional headshot.


“Our goal is to cultivate future professionals from our own community,” said Claire Carlin, executive director of AEF. “Businesses consistently rally behind the American Experience Foundation’s programs. Thanks to the access and commitment offered by national brands with global esteem like the Smithsonian Institution, Washington Nationals and others, these students will begin to build meaningful professional networks.”


The American Experience Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity affiliated with Destination DC, enriches the lives of students through inspirational travel experiences and educational opportunities to cultivate the next generation of hospitality industry professionals. AEF offers students an introduction to the wonder of travel and exposure to hospitality career paths through: free field trips for low-income 8th graders from Washington, DC and across the country; scholarships to qualified DC high school Academies of Hospitality and Tourism students and graduates; and educational programs to connect students to hospitality industry professionals and ensure college and career readiness.


Destination DC is the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, a private, non- profit membership organization of over 1,000 businesses committed to marketing the area as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historic communities.



Denise Osei, communications specialist

202-789-7097 (w); [email protected]



March 12, 2021

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