News for the Hospitality Executive
By Elizabeth Johnson
Senior Marketing Manager, AH&LEI
March 5, 2010 - Thirteen teams of high school hospitality students will compete for a national trophy and thousands of dollars in scholarship money at the seventh annual National Lodging Management Program Competition April 15-17 in Orlando, Florida. The students, representing schools in Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, South Carolina, Wyoming, Washington DC, and Guam, will compete in a series of hospitality-focused events judged by veteran hoteliers, educators, and hospitality industry suppliers. The competition is sponsored by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation, Best Western, Marriott, and HCareers.
These 15- to 18-year-olds participate in high school career education programs that use the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute’s Lodging Management Program curriculum, which prepares students for hospitality careers or college study in the field of hospitality. The two-year program, geared to high school juniors and seniors, includes 360 instructional hours covering a broad spectrum of hospitality functional areas. Students who complete both years of the program, plus an additional 160 hours of work experience, can earn the Certified Rooms Division Specialist (CRDS) certification from EI.
Many of the schools that compete in the National LMP Competition receive support from their partner state associations and from local hotels that provide classroom space and opportunities for internships and hands-on experience rotating through each of the hotel’s departments. Other LMP classes are not so fortunate, and students are unable to get the hands-on experience they need because of a shortage of internship and work opportunities at local hotels.
Some of this year’s LMP teams have won state-level competitions to earn the right to compete nationally; others make the trip on their own, to test their mettle on a national scale.
During the national competition, the teams are judged in three events:
The words most commonly used by competition judges to describe the students include professional, polished, and passionate. Roy Nassau, general manager of the Orlando Airport Marriott, which hosted last year’s event, knew that these kids weren’t typical teens.
“From the moment the students got here, I could see their passion and enthusiasm for their study, for their career path,” he said. “I was impressed and gratified that they want to be part of our profession.”
Throughout the competition, the student teams have the opportunity to interact with the judges, who have included people like AH&LA president and CEO Joe McInerney, EI president Robert Steele, and Emily Ellis, long-time vice president of culture and brand training for Gaylord Entertainment.
“We are providing the opportunity for students, teachers and guidance counselors to take a look at the viable careers in our industry,” said Ellis. “So many people in our industry end up there by accident. Creating awareness at the high school level is a huge first step toward getting more qualified employees. We need to reach students and let them know that there are jobs in the hotel industry that have a future for them.
“The industry has to make connections with schools,” she continued. “They will bring all the pieces together. This is the future of our industry.”
To learn more about how your property or association can support Lodging Management Program students, or to learn more about opportunities for sponsorship, judging, or bringing the LMP curriculum to high schools in your area, please contact Lee Ann Lonsdale at 407-999-8115 or email@example.com.
Established in 1953 as a nonprofit educational foundation of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Educational Institute’s mission is to support AH&LA by becoming the preferred provider to the lodging industry, hospitality schools, and related hospitality industries both domestically and internationally by developing and providing quality resources to train, educate, and certify hospitality professionals.
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