News for the Hospitality Executive
From the Chalkboard to the Front Line - Blending Academics
with Hospitality Internship Programs
By Kathleen Hogan, MBA - October 12, 2010
As the lead for the new Student Corner at HospitalityEducators.com, helping hospitality students be better prepared in starting their professional careers is a priority. This is the first of a series of “Hospitality Conversations” exploring different internship programs available to hospitality students. As a native New Englander myself and a professional dedicated to “blended learning”, I respect the Johnson & Wales University commitment to blending academics and real world experience.
The business world has voiced frustrations surrounding the time and expense associated with training new hires, who have educational degrees but may have inadequate skill sets for the jobs they will be doing. In the hospitality world, when a ski resort business in its high season needs to hire staff to operate its ski lifts, finding experienced, skilled help is critical. “Time is money” in business, which makes any disconnect between what is learned in the classroom and what is needed in the workforce a costly one. This is especially true with regard to staffing in the hospitality industry.
Finding the way to connect or reconnect academia and business is key to solving the staffing problem. One remedy may be found in the internship programs at colleges and universities that connect hospitality students with hospitality related business owners in the community.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Sandra Tremblay, the Assistant Professor and Director of the Travel-Tourism & Hospitality Internship program at Johnson & Wales University in the state of Rhode Island. Her career includes professional service at Newport Hospitality, the Vanderbilt Hall Hotel and the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council.
Our discussion focused on the following four questions:
1. We note your web site overview of Hands-on Learning. One question would be, how do you develop assignments?
Response: Networking and building multi-faceted relationships with both internal and external industry partners is key to the success of any Internship Program. Some of our partnerships include the Rhode Island Tourism Division, the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau, AAA, the Radisson Hotel, TF Green Airport and our own Johnson & Wales Inn. In addition to their Internship assignments, Travel-Tourism & Hospitality students participate in industry events and perform community service.2. Internships - how does the approval process work? How long are the internship programs?
Response: Students are screened one trimester ahead of the start of the upcoming internship program. Candidates are sent an application to complete and return, which is then reviewed by the program head to determine the best fit within the available site placements matched with the student’s identified interest area. The next step involves a one-on-one interview with the program head and is often followed by a second interview with the lead person from the site assignment.3. Travel/tourism focus - this is obviously a global growth area. What are current student interest areas in tourism and how does Johnson & Wales cultivate these internship areas?
Response: The student interest areas are quite varied and often change with exposure to new areas during the internship program. The industry partnerships forged through our networking efforts have afforded the students many opportunities to work in a wide variety of industry areas. Every assignment pairs students with the supervisor or teaching assistant at the venue site, where they gain real world experience performing the responsibilities of the job with full accountability under the normal pressure associated with the position.4. Can you share some successes concerning career placements for students who participated specifically in one of these internships?
Response: We have students who, for example, have landed positions with Delta Airlines, the Preservation Society of Newport (Newport Mansions), and Marriott Hotels. Our students graduate with enhanced skill sets through their real-world work experiences and participation in the Internship Program. The students have improved abilities in the areas of time management, organizational skills, customer service skills and professional appearance as a direct result of the Internship Program.For more information on the Travel-Tourism & Hospitality Internship program at Johnson & Wales University click here.
Closing comments from HospitalityEducators.com:
When bridges are built between the worlds of academia and business everyone benefits. Students are better prepared to enter the workforce and compete for the desired positions. Business acquires fresh talent that is ready to hit the ground running. Academia provides an education relevant to current needs and jobs in the marketplace. Mutual support and collaboration fosters positive change and invites greater advancement for everyone involved.
Hogan, MBA is Co-Founder and Publisher of HospitalityEducators.com.
She has a background in management, banking, and finance with a Master’s
Degree concentration in Human Resources Management. In addition,
Kathleen is a hospice volunteer in Phoenix, Arizona, where she currently
Kathleen Hogan, MBA
|Also See:||Luxury Hotels on Italy's Lake Como Provide Intensive 3 Month Internships for Niagara University College of Hospitality and Tourism Management Students / January 2007|
|Test Driving” New Co-Workers Through Internships / Denise Moretti and Kathryn Phelps / February 2006|
|The University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management Provides Students with Intership Opportunities All Over the World; Gives Students Advantage When it Comes to Competing for Industry Jobs / August 2007|