Denihan launches workforce-development program for upcoming James Hotel

Denihan Hospitality, a full-service hospitality company, formed The James Connection, a workforce-development program at the soon-to-be-developed The James Washington D.C. The hotel is a component of Armature Works, a mixed-use development located in the NoMa neighborhood of Washington D.C., which is being developed by Trammell Crow Company, its residential subsidiary High Street Residential and KochSmith Capital.

The James Connection, which is intended to establish a mutually beneficial relationship between Denihan, its development partners and the local community, will offer five to 10 neighbors the opportunity to participate in a week-long hotel shadow program. It will also offer career training in hospitality twice a year to interested juniors and seniors at Eastern High School.

“Like The James brand, the NoMa neighborhood symbolizes opportunity, adventure and diversity, and that’s why we are thrilled to be joining this community and announce The James Connection,” Christina Denihan, VP of asset management and development at Denihan Hospitality, said in a statement. “We really felt this program would be a good way for us to deepen our connection with our neighbors by allowing them to work in a hotel environment and experience our shared values firsthand. As a result of this program and our presence in the area, we believe we can develop strong relationships with the local community and the next generation of hospitality professionals, which is something we are very excited about.”

The week-long hotel shadow program will allow participants to work with the hotel’s staff during pre-opening training at The James Washington D.C. All participants will receive hands-on experience in a number of line staff and management hospitality roles including guest services, security, sales and marketing and human resources.

Denihan’s partnership with Eastern High School will provide juniors and seniors with interview training, resume writing courses and the ability to learn in a fast-paced environment from established hospitality professionals. Members of Denihan’s executive team will also serve as mentors for the students. 

The James Connection is part of a broader series of workforce development initiatives undertaken by the development team behind the Armature Works project, which include the following:

  • A commitment by Clark Construction, the project’s general contractor, to establish a formal program aimed at attracting both skilled and entry-level employees to the job site from the surrounding neighborhoods
  • The potential creation of an apprenticeship in the electrical repair business of Central Armature Works, the business that has operated on the site of the Armature Works project for more than three decades
  • A donation of $50,000 to the Greater Washington Community Foundation, which works to strengthen the Washington metropolitan region by encouraging and supporting effective giving and by providing leadership on critical issues. The Foundation will establish a grant program to be used for job training for residents and employers within roughly one mile of the development site.

The James Washington D.C. will consist of 204 rooms, 10,000 square feet of meeting space, a signature restaurant on the ground floor and a rooftop bar. The hotel is scheduled to open during the winter of 2020 along with the rest of the 780,000-square-foot Armature Works development, which includes 640 apartment units in two buildings, outdoor public spaces and 42,000 square feet of street-level retail.