Mayor Richard M. Daley today joined officials of Kimpton Hotels for the grand opening of the Palomar Hotel, a 261-room art-themed hotel that has created 150 new jobs in the hospitality industry that plays such a major role in the City’s economy.
“The opening of a hotel such as this is a very encouraging thing in these difficult economic times. It’s the kind of step that gives us optimism that the economy is starting to turn in the right direction,” Daley said in a news conference at the hotel, 505 N. State St.
“During these tough times, new jobs must be created in the private sector if we're to grow our way out of the recession. Government can support and help their efforts,” he said.
Daley said that, in addition to the new hospitality jobs, putting up the building the hotel occupies created 275 construction jobs.
The City, through its ServiceWorks program, partnered with Kimpton to help place Chicagoans in the new hotel positions. ServiceWorks provided pre-screened applicants for jobs at the hotel and Palomar hired about 80 percent of its new employees from that pool of talent.
ServiceWorks provides Chicago employers with a single point of contact for their human capital needs. It has a business-driven, industry-based focus on employment and training that helps find qualified applicants quickly and with less recruiting/interviewing effort based on the specific screening criteria and hiring needs established by the employer.
“It’s a perfect example of government and the private sectors working together to complete a project that creates jobs for our residents and adds a great hotel for visitors to our city,” Daley said.
The Mayor also complimented Kimpton on its commitment to sustaining the environment, which he said the City considers an important part of its own economic development strategy.
The Palomar operates with more than 70 eco-friendly practices and has a green roof to improve air quality, clean and retain rainwater and add beauty to the urban landscape. It joins the other 600 green roofs completed or underway in Chicago totaling more than 7 million square feet.
Daley said the hospitality industry is one of the backbones of the City’s economy, supporting about 132,000 jobs.
“We have taken a number of steps to ensure that it remains healthy, including re-focusing our ongoing workforce training and education programs on the sectors that are critical to the future of our local economy – and hospitality is one of those,” the Mayor said.
And we are working with the Governor and the General Assembly to take the legislative steps that are necessary to ensure we can continue to attract and retain conventions and trade shows in Chicago as well as restore Chicago's competitive edge and position the City the nation's leading convention destination,” he said.
Daley thanked Kimpton Hotels for the confidence in Chicago they have demonstrated by opening the new hotel.
“Each new development, whether it’s a new high-rise in River North or a new store in a neighborhood shopping district shows Chicago is vibrant and growing, even in tough times. And that message makes our city an even more attractive place for employers, visitors and residents alike,” he said.
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