New hospitality and tourism degree offered by CCC&TI

Jul. 17, 2014 @ 10:18 AM

Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute has added a hospitality and tourism management program to offer students an opportunity to learn how to supervise or manage in the growing field.

Kelly Greene, business programs director, said that the field goes well beyond restaurants, hotels and motels.

“We think it’s a very viable means of employment for our graduates,” Greene said.

According to the N.C. Department of Commerce, Caldwell and Watauga counties supported 2,820 jobs in the hospitality and tourism field in 2012 with an economic impact of $275.5 million. In its most recent monthly employment report, the department said that the Hickory/Lenoir/Morganton area had added about 500 jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry from May 2013 to May 2014, an increase of about 4 percent.

“It’s growing. It’s not going to stop,” Greene said.

She said she also hopes the new program will attract and entice culinary arts students.

“We’ve also tried to link this program up with our culinary arts program, so that those students have the opportunity to do a double major. So again, we’re looking at options for increased marketability of our current students as well,” Greene said.

The program can be completed in five semesters with a total of 70 credit hours. New courses include legal issues — hospitality, guest services management, and club and resort management. There are also two work-based learning courses that place students with a business as in an internship.

“I already have sponsors who are willing to take our students on and help them get some experience in the industry kind of midway through the program and in hopes that those students can transition into positions with those sponsors upon graduation,” Greene said.

Greene declined to identify the businesses but said there are many in Watauga County, and she was still working to gather more in Caldwell.

“Our job is to train local citizens for viable employment here in our community,” Greene said. “It’s what we’ve been doing for 50 years, and we hope that this program will obviously a become a flagship program in our area, in the area of business and technical skills-based instruction so they can get out and hit the ground running.”