More than 40 refugees who came to the United States last year have started working at the Sheraton Downtown Phoenix, forming a close community in their new home.
Erin Flothmeier, the hotel's market director of human resources, told AZ Family that the hotel worked with an agency to find several refugees jobs. From there, those new employees told their friends and families about applying for open positions. Today, the refugees make up roughly 15 percent of the hotel's staff, Flothmeier said, working full-time as accountants, chefs, waiters, housekeepers, and dishwashers.
The refugees were also shown how to open bank accounts and ride the bus, and a prayer room for the Muslim refugees was set up in the hotel. "We want to make them feel at home and make them know they're welcome with us," Flothmeier said.
Fahim A. came to the U.S. seven months ago with his wife and toddler. He is working as a cook at the Sheraton, and told AZ Family he's getting used to "a different society, a different world, and different rules," and what makes it easier is knowing he's surrounded by people who care about him. Fahim doesn't "feel like I'm new here," he added, and his co-workers "ask about your families, and they take care of you. I like working here. They work like a family."