I am highly involved with CTE and work-based learning projects, as well as significant experience working with a range of students; from high school to adult learners. Given that hospitality and tourism makes up such a large part of the workforce, I am always engaged in economic development discussions.
Before I joined my current institution I had already been active with college readiness programs as a frequent volunteer at career fairs and other upward bound programs. Once I joined my current institution this activity steadily increased as I joined DOE's Culinary, Hospitality and Tourism Commission and began working very closely with CTE high schools. I had also assembled a board of advisors made up of hand-picked representatives of different industries.
In order to effectively prepare high school students you need to first identify their needs. At the same time you need to better understand what the industry is looking for in graduates (if they don't go directly to industry from high school). Based on those continuous conversations I built programming that would satisfy both entities. This resulted in the creation of many programs which I talk about under the 'Enrollment Management' section. Many of these programs specifically expose students to careers that exist with the hospitality and tourism industry. My goal is to get them past the obvious roles and to open their eyes to the possibilities. Examples include; an artist who designs beverage containers, the founder of a cricket powder company, a former convict turned fitness guru.
For those taking a longer path to school or coming back for additional training, I have been very fortunate to have taught in hospitality and tourism management as it is very much at the forefront of workforce development conversations. A couple of years ago I created a plan for certificates (pre and post bachelor's) and a master's program to offer more options to those who wanted specialized training.
The work I do in West Africa also relates to college readiness and workforce development. On most Tuesdays in Ghana there is a workshop held at the U.S. Embassy. When I am in Accra I almost always do a session on college readiness. I talk about the range of issues that students may face, as well as answer specific questions about the application process. In terms of workforce development, I believe that everyone should have access to education, which part of the mission of Hospitalented. Through this organization I am actively engaged in the training of those who have limited access. I created HospiGo as a low-tech option to spread knowledge.
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