• Ann Duchene

It's Been A While

If I were you, I'd be wondering, "Where are the updates, when is this hotel opening, and what's going on with this project?" That's totally fair. The good news is that we're just as passionate about this project as ever, and are still making progress. There's no bad news, so stop waiting for the other shoe to drop.

A few weeks ago, I wrote that Rabbit & Mitten decided to partner with a local non-profit named Great Lakes Empowerment Services. (As an aside, working for this non-profit is my day job, so I'm extremely familiar with the organization from the inside out.)

In a nutshell, Great Lakes Empowerment Services is all about helping people love their job and be really good at it. We emphasize creating "portable, stackable, industry-recognized" certifications. (Those are just buzz words that mean you get specific and recognized training in a field, it's not tied to a particular business so you can take it with you wherever you go, and that you can build on it later if you want to go deep in your field.) After someone gets certified at Great Lakes Empowerment Services, they then move into an internship for up to ninety days, to practice their newly-acquired skills. Then we help them transition into a full time job, start their own business, or whatever their professional goal is.

And that's what makes this partnership so awesome. We plan to use the hotel as a place where folks can practice getting really good at things like customer service, facility and grounds maintenance, booking reservations.

Aside from our little hotel, Great Lakes Empowerment Services is working to launch two other projects within the hospitality industry - one of which is Grand Ledge's beloved Crossroads Barbecue! Each of these projects is what we call an "incubator" enterprise, which just means that it's a place for the folks coming through our program to get a good handle on using their new certifications, in a mentor-based, supportive environment with high accountability. Additionally, revenue from the incubator business then functions as a way to further fuel the mission of the non-profit.

I know this post doesn't give a whole lot of info on our building's transformation from church to a cool place to stay. From this point forward, I plan to post some type of update every two weeks. That way you'll be the first to know when we announce things like an opening date!

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