Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Joins the White House’s UpSkill America Program

Starwood Expands and Enhances Its Associate Development Program to Further Elevate Employees’ Skills and Earning Potential

STAMFORD, Conn. - April 24, 2015 - (BUSINESS WIRE) - Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) has a rich history of identifying talented entry-level associates and cultivating their skills into increasingly challenging positions. At Starwood there are many examples of associates who started working at the front desk or as a room attendant who advanced to positions of Supervisor, Manager or even Regional Director.

It’s in this spirit of possibility that Starwood is pleased to announce today its participation in UpSkill America, a public-private initiative led by the US Department of Education to identify front-line employees and give them the training needed to advance their careers. Today, Starwood joined labor leaders, non-profits, educators, technology innovators and other employers for the White House Upskill Summit in Washington, D.C., to share best practices.

As part of its commitment to UpSkill America, Starwood will expand and enhance its existing Associate Development Program (ADP) that has already graduated more than 800 associates within the last five years from owned and managed North American properties.

“At Starwood, we are dedicated to the professional development of our associates in North America and in all of our 1,200 properties around the world,” said Kelly Frank, Senior Vice President Corporate Human Resource Services and Americas Human Resources at Starwood. “The Associate Development Program gives our people hands-on, real-world learning experiences that they can apply immediately. It also structures the learning in an accessible way for hotels to prepare the next generation of managers and leaders. The UpSkill America initiative invites us to learn from other industry-leading companies and challenges us to make an already successful program even better.”

Starwood’s program, initially launched in 2003 as a pilot in Arizona and New York and later expanded throughout Canada and the United States, selects high-potential associates to undergo approximately six months of training that could include cross-functional learning, exposure to senior leaders, mentoring or coaching and presentations and projects related to the skills they learn in the program.

Taylor Spotleson, who started at Starwood working in food and beverage in Scottsdale at The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in 2007, followed her passion to Human Resources at The Phoenician in 2010, and after completing the Associate Development Program in 2011 she assisted with the opening of The Westin Snowmass Resort in Colorado. She continued to advance her career as the Human Resources Manager for the Aloft Tucson University in 2012 and then accepted a role supporting regional Human Resources in late 2013.

“ADP has opened many doors by providing me new experiences and creating a network of wonderful mentors and business partners to help me navigate my career and reach my potential,” Spotleson said. “The program has given me on-property and regional opportunities as well as wide industry experience by working at a Five Diamond resort, opening and transitioning hotels, and providing regional support to our hotels.”

Starwood’s UpSkill America 2015 Goals

Through UpSkill America, Starwood commits to enhancing its Associate Development Program through greater exposure and training for job growth opportunities, graduating 100 ADP participants in 2015, and rolling out the expanded program to its entire North America portfolio of more than 500 owned, managed and franchise properties. As part of the expanded program, Starwood will track hotel participation, graduation rates, and career progression of participants following graduation.

“ADP will not only prepare front-line associates for critical job advancement opportunities, but it also will contribute to increased retention among high-potential associates and foster collaboration among departments within a property,” said Erica Reidy, Director of Learning and Development for the Americas at Starwood. “We’re excited by the opportunity to participate in UpSkill America and I’m looking forward to sharing our best practices and learning from other company leaders.”

About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with more than 1,200 properties in some 100 countries and over 180,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, Aloft®, element® and the recently introduced Tribute Portfolio™. The Company boasts one of the industry’s leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG®), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates. Starwood recently announced plans to spin off its Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc. business, a premier provider of world-class vacation experiences through villa-style resorts and privileged access to Starwood brands, into a standalone public company by the end of 2015. For more information, please visit

SOURCE Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.


Michelle Starr
Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Global Communications


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Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences.


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