44 Techniques March 2013 www.acteonline.orgFeatureHospitality & Tourism—Linking Industry tothe ClassroomMany peopleassociate hospitalityand tourism positionswith low-wage jobs,but programs at thehigh school levelhelp increase thecompetitiveness ofhigher-paying jobsas a more educatedand experiencedworkforce develops.By Darron kirkley P erhaps when you think about hospitality and tourism destinations in the United States, Hawaii, Florida andNew York come to mind. I doubt thatmany people instantly associate SouthCarolina with a top tourism destination,but the number one industry in SouthCarolina is tourism. Myrtle Beach,Charleston, Greenville and Hilton Headmake South Carolina a travel destinationfor visitors year-round. According to theUnited States Travel Association, tourismcontributes over $15 billion yearly to theSouth Carolina economy. The question remains whether South Carolina ispreparing its workforce to support sucha large industry. Career and technicaleducation (CTE) programs are the logicalanswer to meet the demand.The BreakdownConsidering the large size of the hospitality and tourism industry in SouthCarolina, it would appear that the publicschools would see the need for an educated workforce in this specifc area andwould respond to the demand. This hasnot been the case. The hospitality andtourism cluster in South Carolina schoolsconsists of two tracks: culinary arts andhospitality management and operations. According to the South CarolinaDepartment of Education Career andTechnology Offce, there are almostthree times as many schools that offerculinary arts programs (approximately68) as offer hospitality management andoperations programs (approximately 20).This is quite surprising considering theamount of money associated with offeringa culinary arts program. The hospitalitymanagement and operations curriculumcan be implemented into the curriculumwithout many additional costs. Staffng,textbooks and smaller supplementarymaterials are basically the only costs associated with a hospitality managementand operations program.Future FocusCareer paths for students in the hospitality and tourism cluster can be verydiverse. Students may choose to be hotelmanagers, event planners, pastry chefs,wedding directors or marketing managers for a local convention and visitorsbureau. This variety of career offeringsis one of the unique benefts of havinghospitality- and tourism-related coursesin a school. Students are also eligible tocomplete internships with local businessesand partners during their senior year.This is a unique way to increase schooland community relations while gettingstudents exposed to the industry at anearly age.Many people associate hospitality andtourism positions with low-wage jobs, butprograms at the high school level helpincrease the competitiveness of higherpaying jobs as a more educated andwww.acteonline.org March 2013 Techniques 45Featureexperienced workforce develops. Students may choose to enter the workforceimmediately after high school or chooseto continue their hospitality and tourism education at a postsecondary school.Nearly a dozen colleges and universitiesin South Carolina offer hospitality andtourism courses and/or curriculums.Instant SuccessI began teaching the Hospitality andTourism Management Program in2008 at North Central High School inKershaw, South Carolina. The closestfull-service hotel to the school is nearlyan hour away, and many of the studentshad never stayed in a three-star or higherhotel. None of the students in the initialclass knew what hospitality and tourismmanagement involved, and I often referred to the class as hotel, restaurant andtourism management so that students hadsome idea of what it was they were goingto learn. I initially offered one introductory course in hospitality managementand operations, but over a four-year span,the program expanded to four levels,with its frst completer in 2012. Studentrequests for the courses exceeded thenumber of allotted student spaces for allclass periods after the frst year of theprogram.The support of the program from thelocal, state and national levels helped toNorth Central High School students after winning the SouthCarolina Lodging Management Program state competition.phoTo courTesy of darron kirkleyCareer paths for students in the hospitality and tourismcluster can be very diverse. Students may choose to be hotelmanagers, event planners, pastry chefs, wedding directors ormarketing managers for a local convention and visitors bureau.This variety of career offerings is one of the unique benefts ofhaving hospitality- and tourism-related courses in a school.46 Techniques March 2013 www.acteonline.orgFeaturemake the program a success. My students represented South Carolina twiceas the state champions at the International Lodging Management Programcompetition in Orlando, Florida, wherethey placed fourth in 2012. The SouthCarolina Restaurant and Lodging Association was critical to the overall successof the program by providing scholarshipopportunities, feld trip assistance andother resources for the program. Eachyear, the American Hotel and Lodging Association Educational Instituteorganizes the international competition inwhich students enrolled in the Hospitalityand Tourism Management Program (oneof the curriculums approved for hospitality management and operations students)from around the world can competeagainst one another. This program issimilar to the culinary arts competitionorganized through the ProStart programby the National Restaurant Association.Real. Enthusiastic. Engaging.Students in all CTE classes should beexposed to an explanation of how theircareer is important and vital to society.Hospitality and tourism courses providethe perfect opportunity for studentsto see frsthand their career in action.Classroom speakers, feld trips and evenvirtual job shadowing allow students tosee the importance of hospitality andtourism in society.Each year, students enrolled in myhospitality and tourism classes celebrateNational Travel and Tourism Week (thisyear, celebrated May 4–12) in a uniqueway. Each day, a different guest speakertells the class about their job in the industry. Students also create banners andsigns advertising the week.In 2011, students successfully petitioned the local Kershaw County Councilto recognize National Travel and TourismWeek in Kershaw County. The studentswanted the county lawmakers to see theimportance of the tourism industry on thelocal, state and national economies.Additionally, each year students holda food festival on the Friday of NationalTravel and Tourism Week. The festivalis dubbed “Grits Stop,” and all schoolStudents participate in a quiz bowl competition that features hospitality-related questionsin a Jeopardy-style format. NCHS won 1st place in the quiz bowl competition in 2012.phoTo courTesy of The american hoTel and lodging educaTional insTiTuTeBased on the strong tourism industry in South Carolina, secondaryschools should help to foster the industry by introducing andeducating future employees during their high school education.www.acteonline.org March 2013 TechniquesReferencesUnited States Travel Association, “The EconomicContribution of Tourism in South Carolina,”www.scprt.com/fles/research/sc%20Tsa%202010%20report%20final.pdf.South Carolina Department of Education,(2012). Enrollment in Hospitality and TourismPrograms spreadsheet.The lack of hospitality andtourism programs (bothmanagement and culinary)shows the disconnect betweenindustry and education.faculty and staff are treated to warmSouthern hospitality and local Southernfoods, including grits, pecan pie, homemade biscuits and gravy, and more. Thistype of celebration engages the studentsand allows them to share with others theimportance of what they are learning inthe classroom.Making It HappenAll CTE courses are important and arevital pathways to promoting variouscareers for students. Based on the strongtourism industry in South Carolina, secondary schools should help to foster theindustry by introducing it and educatingfuture employees during their high schooleducation. The lack of hospitality andtourism programs (both management andculinary) shows the disconnect betweenindustry and education. Administratorsand industry leaders should work togetherto help make both CTE and the tourism industry a stronger voice in SouthCarolina. What better way to get visitorsto South Carolina than by having an educated and trained CTE student welcoming guests?Darron Kirkley taught hospitality and tourismmanagement for four years in South Carolina,and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in hospitalitymanagement, as well as teaching as an adjunctinstructor at the University of South Carolina.He can be reached at [email protected] 47FeatureGoodheart-Willcox Publisher • 800.323.0440Educate AnywhereEngaging Content Multiple FormatsGoodheart-Willcox Career & Technical Educationproducts are delivered through various formats.Find the ideal one for you at www.g-w.com. 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