SAFE Center Launches Nationwide Survivor Training Program with Marriott

SAFE Center Economic Empowerment Director Heidi Alvarez accepts AHLA’s No Room for Trafficking Award in July, 2023. Source: AHLA Foundation

Published in the SAFE Center Newsletter | November 27, 2023

The University of Maryland SAFE Center and Marriott International have launched a nationwide expansion of the Future in Training (FiT) Curriculum developed to empower survivors of human trafficking interested in hospitality careers. In a press release announcing the rollout, Marriott International President and CEO Anthony Capuano highlighted the benefits this program can provide to both survivors and businesses; it will help employers fill open positions with talented workers while offering survivors the opportunity to gain new skills and find long term employment in the hospitality industry.

Developed by Marriott and the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery and piloted and adapted by the SAFE Center’s Economic Empowerment team, the FiT curriculum provides trauma-informed training on hospitality careers as well as on essential job readiness skills applicable to any industry. The SAFE Center will now extend this training program to 11 metropolitan areas in the U.S., training up to 150 survivors by July 2024 and building connections between hospitality businesses and participating agencies to support employability goals. 

The SAFE Center kicked off the National Rollout Program this September, leading a multi-day Train the Trainer program. Staff from 10 agencies across the country participated in the training, learning about trauma-informed training techniques. This expansion is made possible by a grant from AHLA Foundation’s No Room for Trafficking Survivor Fund, which provides community-based organizations with the resources they need to engage and support human trafficking survivors. We are grateful for the AHLA Foundation’s recognition of and support for this important work.

“We have seen the profound effect hospitality training can have on survivors’ wellbeing and autonomy,” said Susan Esserman, SAFE Center Founder and Director, on receiving the award. “The No Room for Trafficking Survivor Fund grant provides an opportunity to scale the impact of the hospitality training program to human trafficking survivors across the country. We are immensely grateful to Marriott International for their innovative leadership in developing hospitality training for survivors and their commitment to empower survivors by offering vital employment opportunities that advance economic empowerment and financial stability for survivors and their families.”