Former Project SEARCH Intern Finding Success in His Role

Erik working

Erik Whipple is a former Project SEARCH student who graduated from the 9-month program in 2018. Five years later, he is still working for the Renaissance Glendale Hotel and Spa, where his Project SEARCH internship took place, and he is excelling in his role.

Project SEARCH is a faster way forward for individuals between 18-28 years old who have graduated high school and have a disability that is a barrier to employment. It is a 9-month internship that helps to build professional skills, and through a partnership with West-MEC, there are currently host sites at the Renaissance and SanMAR Distribution.

Whipple is a highly motivated, ambitious, and extroverted person whose role at the Rennaisance is performed with pride and quality. He performs multiple duties at the hotel, including set-up and takedown for events, food service, and more. 

“I learned about Project SEARCH at a job fair in the summer of 2018,” said Whipple. “I wanted to work in a hotel so I figured this would be a great starting place for me.”

After almost five years of service, Whipple couldn’t be happier with his experience there. He is grateful to Project SEARCH and the Renaissance for trusting him to perform his duties, often by himself. He does have ambitions for more, though, and soon, he will be allowed to work as a barback, which he is hugely excited about. In this role, he will assist the bartenders and have more chances to talk with the guests, his favorite part of his job.

Conversing, getting to know, and giving suggestions of places to eat and visit around the hotel are Whipple’s absolute favorite duties on the job. Given his outgoing and kind nature, this is no surprise. 

“I love communicating with people and telling everybody what is around the area and where to go out to eat. I love just helping out everybody,” said Whipple.

Outside of work, Whipple loves to travel. Some of his favorite places he has visited are New York, Yosemite Park, and France, but as he said, it is tough to beat Greece when it comes to his favorite places he has been. He also goes to Las Vegas a few times a year, and that is where his infatuation with hotels began, inspiring him to want to work in the hotel industry. 

“I’m a hard worker, I’m enthusiastic, and I learn quickly,” said Whipple. “I think I do really well in my role,” said Whipple.

His dream job is to become a concierge in a Las Vegas hotel. Combining his love for talking to guests and unique hotels, it would be a perfect fit for Whipple.

If you ever find yourself staying at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel and Spa, you may run into Erik. Don’t be afraid to say hello; it will be one of the best parts of your stay!