RAH Overview

Creating Sustainable Lives for Refugees

The Fritz Knoebel partnership with the Ethiopian Community Development Council’s African Community Center, a refugee resettlement agency, represents one of the most important and powerful educational frameworks to enable effective learning experiences for responsible leadership.

Since 2012 refugees and DU undergraduates from Fritz Knoebel have gone through this immersive service-learning course. Fritz Knoebel students must staff a fine dining event held at DU and their employee selection pool is the Ready for American Hospitality refugee students. It is up to the Fritz Knoebel students to guide their refugee protégés through the application, selection, training, and orientation process. This experience immerses these students in a working relationship which requires the exercising of unique communication skills, patience, creativity, and a cultural awareness from both parties.  

What is gained?

Refugee Students

  • Job skills
  • Food safety knowledge
  • Complete onboarding experience
  • Paid work experience
  • Increased employment opportunities
  • The DU network
  • Expanded sense of community
  • A close relationship with a university student, who is sometimes their first “American friend”

Fritz Knoebel Students

  • Increased empathy
  • Managerial experience
  • Servant leadership skills
  • Exposure to the realities of leading a diverse workforce
  • Understanding of the stresses of the working poor
  • Increased cultural intelligence
  • Reduced ethnocentrisms

By the Numbers

Program

Established

2012

%

Refugee Employment Rate Post Graduation

%

Refugee 90 day job retention rate post graduation

%

Refugee Attendance Rate

Here is what our students have to say

“We had to hire people, we had to train them, that was something I’ve never personally done. I’ve been hired and I’ve been trained, but I’ve never been on the other end.”
-Jon Willis | BSBA 2016

“There is something so powerful about the experience and about relating with other humans that stays with someone for a long period of time.”
-Abreana Bardossas | BSBA 2016

“Initially when you’re working with somebody whose culture is very different from your own, there are going to be hurdles and it’s going to be a little difficult to get past that. Whether it’s different customs or different norms, being able to learn that, being able to experience that, it’s so worth getting over those hurdles.” 
-Daniela Chavez | BSBA 2016

“Being a mentor in this program taught me the difference between being a manager and being a leader”
-Tanisha Cocetti | BSBA 2013 | Director of Housekeeping, The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa

Here is what our Industry Partners have to say

“Tanisha shows that she has the compassion and understanding. That makes her different and that makes her successful in helping on-boarding these individuals to a new culture, to a new country.”
-Marcel Pitton | Managing Director (retired), The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa

“As operators within a very challenging and high volume airport environment, we have leaned heavily on the training and skills of the employees that were connected to us through the RAH program.  These employees have shown a commitment to hospitality and excellence that is exemplary, and their spirit for the industry and their thirst for continued development makes each of these individuals a real joy to work with.  We look forward to our continued collaboration with this incredible and worthwhile program.”
-Dave Willner | Chief Operating Officer, Skyport Hospitality

“The RAH program’s success in helping refugees to land jobs and become self-sufficient is remarkable. It ought to serve as a model for hospitality and business schools in other cities.”

– Anne Richard | Former Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration

How to get Involved

Become A Sponsor
Employ Refugees

Contact Anthony Cherwinski at anthony.cherwinski@du.edu OR Barbara Gulielminotti at barbara@acc-den.org
Visit ACC Denver for more information

Employ Fritz Knoebel Students
Replicate this Service Learning Model

 

 

Contact us for more information on how to replicate this service learning model at your own University.

More Information

Learn how to replicate this service learning model at your University

Collaborative Partner

African Community Center
www.Acc-den.org
303.399.4500

Refer A Student/All Inquiries

Contact:
RAH Program Manager
Anthony Cherwinski
anthony.cherwinski@du.edu
303.871.7542

Awards

This innovative partnership has received international recognition and has won the following awards:  

The McCool Breakthrough Award, International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, & Institutional Education, 2016
C. Thomas Howard Innovative Teacher Award, Daniels College of Business, 2016
Daniels College of Business Inclusive Excellence Award, 2015
John Wiley & Sons Innovation in Teaching Award, International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, & Institutional Education, 2014
Community-Engaged Department of the Year, University of Denver, 2014
Worldwide Hospitality Award, Winner-Best Educational Innovation, 2013
Service Learning Faculty of the Year Award, University of Denver, 2013