BridgeUSA Host Employers
Bringing the World Together Since 1947
CIEE honors these exceptional host employers for the bridges they build connecting young people from around the world with opportunities to learn about the American way of life through seasonal employment or professional internships in the United States. The following organizations embrace the benefits of cultural exchange and have a strong emphasis on providing a positive participant experience.
CIEE honors Aramark Leisure in recognition of their commitment to the Work & Travel USA program. Over the last 10+ years Aramark has worked with CIEE and hired over 10,000+ Work & Travel USA participants for roles at many different Aramark properties. In addition, Aramark's Government Affairs team and Bruce Fears, president of Aramark’s leisure line of business, have jumped in over the past few years to support meetings with governors, senators, and other officials, to advocate for sustaining the Work & Travel USA program throughout the pandemic.
Aramark holds team bonding events for Work & Travel USA participants such as the annual Lake Powell Olympics, a competition between teams of associates representing their home countries. It is a unifying experience in which participants display country flags, compete in fun events, and win medals (and bragging rights). Each team takes pride in representing their home country and the event always draws in domestic and international employees to cheer on their friends. This event captures the spirit of the BridgeUSA program at Aramark as it brings program participants into competition and camaraderie with their U.S. team members.
“The J-1 (BridgeUSA) International Exchange program has become an integral part of the overall experience we look to provide both guests and employees. Exchange participants bring an energy and flair to all our locations that participate. Not only are they filling critical roles that we can’t fill domestically, but they also bring diversity, culture, and experiences that enrich the employment and guest experience for all who interact with them.”—Jordan Glazier, Aramark
Cedar Fair Entertainment Company
CIEE honors Cedar Fair Entertainment Company in recognition of their longstanding partnership with CIEE and their support of BridgeUSA programs. For nearly three decades, Cedar Fair has run quality programs for participants of Work & Travel USA.
Cedar Fair believes in the benefits of a culturally diverse workforce, explaining that the international exchange program is important to their business, not just because it helps to staff their parks in peak season amid a very challenging labor market, but also because it helps to attract domestic associates who are interested in the cultural exchange. The result is a workforce that is more diverse and inclusive.
“I once worked with a student who upon arrival was very shy and questioned whether she should go back home. I asked her to give it two weeks and then decide. She ended up staying for the full season and flourished in her role, eventually being promoted to supervisor. She stopped by my office before she went home and told me it had been the best summer of her life and how happy she was that she stayed.” -- Anji Anderson, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company
Deer Valley Resort
CIEE honors Deer Valley Resort in recognition of their commitment to participant experience, community relationships, housing, and participant access for the Work & Travel USA program. Nestled in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, Deer Valley Ski Resort is home to a large staff of year-round and seasonal workers from across the United States as well as international students from around the globe. Deer Valley Ski Resort works hard to make sure their seasonal staff feel welcome and appreciated by hosting events such as a Community Welcome Night.
“Deer Valley has always taken great pride in providing our international students the best experience possible. We know that it is not so much what we give them, it is really what they bring to us as a company and as a community.” -- Lisa Angotti, Deer Valley Resort
Morey's Piers and Beachfront Water Parks
CIEE honors Denise Beckson, Vice President Human Resources and Government Relations at Morey's Piers and Beachfront Water Parks, in celebration of her relentless efforts to preserve and improve BridgeUSA programs.
Having worked alongside international visitors since she was 14, Denise experienced early on the benefits of cultural exchange in the workplace. She works tirelessly to provide the best experience possible for BridgeUSA participants, helping them acclimate to their life and work in the U.S., and making Morey’s Piers their home away from home. She continues to raise the bar on the quality BridgeUSA programs being run at Morey's Piers, creating and facilitating educational and cultural exchange opportunities to help young professionals around the world not only build successful careers, but also make a meaningful impact on their home country communities.
Denise is a fierce advocate for the importance of cultural exchange. She has proven herself an industry leader utilizing her various roles within International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions to further educate industry members on BridgeUSA programs. And through countless meetings, sign on letters, and webinars with members of the House and Senate, Denise has consistently laid the groundwork with local, state, and federal officials to build awareness and appreciation for BridgeUSA programs. Her lobbying efforts on the Hill, alongside CIEE, have given so many young people across the globe the opportunity to achieve their dreams of experiencing the American way of life first-hand.
CIEE honors Skanska in recognition of their skillful hosting of more than 20 professional interns and trainees, including many from the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation.
Albert Zulps, Director of Emerging Technology, is responsible for many of the internship placements, matching international talent to the appropriate opportunities, at the same time always making sure that students are challenged and provided with prospects for growth. Albert cites his proud Latvian and Polish descent and passion for innovation technology as his motivation for championing international exchange and inspiring young Baltic professionals.
Paul Pedini, Senior Vice President for Skanska USA Civil Northeast, Inc., has also coordinated internship placements for numerous Baltic-American Freedom Foundation, Hungarian-American Enterprise Scholarship Fund, and Albanian-American Development Foundation participants. Paul is currently continuing to collaborate with a construction company in Latvia, established by a Skanska’s internship alum that he supervised.
"In the emerging construction technology arena - where I spend most of my day - the support of CIEE interns has been invaluable, affording exploration of technologies and workflows that may have not happened otherwise. The mentor/mentee relationship is mutual. We have benefitted by the energy, intelligence, drive and curiosity of the interns, and in turn they have learned about new technology and ways of working in the USA. And perhaps more importantly in today’s climate, they have developed a sensitivity and understanding of American culture and people." — Albert Zulps, Skanska
CIEE honors The Broadmoor for providing exemplary hospitality training programs for Internship USA and Work & Travel USA participants. A CIEE host for more than three decades, The Broadmoor is constantly improving the participant experience. For example, the Broadmoor invested in brand-new housing and created an app with information participants need before arrival and to ease their entry to the United States.
CIEE honors Vail Resorts for their excellence in the coordination and management of BridgeUSA program participants. In particular, Vail Resorts’ Matthew Nowaki stands out among hiring managers who work with CIEE. He has a positive and decisive attitude, is constantly learning about the regulations of the Work & Travel USA program, and is adept at solving any problems that arise for exchange visitors.
Whitefish Mountain Resort
CIEE honors Kristi Hanchett from Whitefish Mountain Resort for her partnership and compassion, particularly when faced with the challenges of the pandemic. In this time of COVID-19, Kristi has been understanding and flexible each season with date changes and COVID-19 precautions, and she has provided participants her full support. In situations where participants have needed additional support, Kristi has been a compassionate employer, ready and able to aid. She treats the participants at her location like family.
“My most special experiences are from travelling to hiring fairs and meeting up with students from the prior seasons in their home countries…The pride they have in sharing their experiences in Whitefish and encouragement for others to participate in the program has given me the most joy and affirmation that this program is doing exactly as it was intended to do: create citizen ambassadors across the world.” -- Kristi Hanchett, Whitefish Mountain Resort
CIEE is presenting 75 CIEE Bridge Builder Awards to those individuals and institutions – from host families to study abroad advisors, from politicians to employers – whose efforts and influence over the last 75 years have strengthened international education and exchange.