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As a participant in the Entrepreneuring Youth program, high school student Licercia Crawley already knows she has what it takes to be a successful business owner. Her company, Le De La Mosaic Limited allows Crawley to share her artistic mosaic creations with others while also earning a profit.

“I always liked to make mosaics. When I got into the class they showed me I could do something I love and make money from it,” Crawley said. “I made actually quite a lot from it.”

Crawley is one of many Pittsburgh students benefiting from E Youth, an educational and entrepreneurial experience program that recently received a portion of a $50,000 grant given to the Education Management Corp. by Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. E Youth programs immerse young people in the real-life experience of business creation, ownership and earning money so they can acquire the knowledge, skills and entrepreneurial attributes that help them achieve in school and in life.

“They helped me meet wonderful people who help me with my plan and what I should get started with. They are helping me with everything from marketing to my business plan,” Crawley said. “I probably won’t go to college for business, but I do want to do this as a side project.”

At a workshop Dec. 9, hosted by Starwood Hotels and EDMC, Crawley and her classmates at North Side Urban Pathways got a behind-the scenes look at hospitality management at the Sheraton Station Square.

“In our business there’s opportunity to venture off into other areas of the country. Why I tell you this is selfishly I would like you all to come work for Starwood Hotels,” said Tom Hardy, general manager, Sheraton Station Square. “What we have for you today is a sneak peak into our world.”

Hardy showed the students the career paths of his management, demonstrating how an employee can work their way up to a high management position after starting in the industry in a service position such as a dishwasher.

In addition to the presentation by Hardy, Barron Whited, the director of counseling and disability services at Art Institute of Pittsburgh, gave the students college preparation advice for careers in more artistic fields.

“Think about what you want to do. Don’t let anyone stand in your way. You have an experience here today to see what tourism is like,” Whited said. “It’s ok to make mistakes in college. I know I made a lot of mistakes. It’s part of the learning process.”

Throughout the workshop and tour, the students learned about career-based education. The tour, led by Sheraton management was designed to help them understand which types of educational and vocational background would be required to hold jobs in each department.

“I enjoyed it. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m glad I took it,” said Tre Goins. “Hotel management is really good, better than I thought it was.”

The $50,000 grant was provided by Starwood Hotel’s “Get More for Your Meeting, Give More to Your Community” meeting promotion. The national promotion offered participating companies exclusive savings and a chance to win one of four $50,000 charity grants to be awarded to their charity of choice.

EDMC, which has a local branch in Downtown, is among the largest providers of post-secondary education in North America with a total of 101 locations in 31 U.S. states and Canada. They offer students the opportunity to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees and certain specialized non-degree diplomas in a broad range of disciplines, including design, media arts, health sciences, psychology and behavioral sciences, culinary, fashion, business, education, legal and information technology.

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