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INDIANAPOLIS — There is a need for about 18,000 hotel and restaurant workers in Indianapolis over the next six years.
Carlesa Smith is a shift supervisor at Harry and Izzy's northside restaurant. Her responsibilities range from managing staff to working with the team on new dishes. Smith earned her culinary degree from Ivy Tech in 2015.
"Motivation and people skills those are two things you'll never pay for that are coming from the heart," Smith said. "You have to have a determination, drive you want to do it."
Visit Indy, which promotes the city, said hotels and restaurants need more people to keep up with the more than $4 billion economic impact generated by visitors every year.
There’s a projection that by 2025 the Indianapolis area will need about 100,000 hospitality employees.
Workers said the demand has given them job security.
"I think anybody in the hospitality industry no matter what it is I think they're more valuable than they were two years ago let alone five years ago," Smith said.
Samuel Meadows is a bellman at the Conrad in downtown Indianapolis.
"Everyone in the hospitality industry is very important from the housekeeping to the GM from the bellman to the valet," Meadows said.
The 36-year-old father is rising through the ranks with a goal of one day owning his own hotel.
Samuel and Carlesa's careers are about catering to visitors, but it’s their personal skills that are also in high demand.
"Doing things you love is the only way you'll be able to succeed in anything that you do," Smith said. "If you don't like your job you will never be successful."
Visit Indy says 60 percent of hospitality workers work in the downtown area though they live in the contiguous counties.
In 2017, tourism was responsible for 6 percent of all Indianapolis jobs and 1 in 15 Indianapolis workers owes their job to tourism activity.