FORUM Vol. 43, No. 5 October 22, 2018
GVSU to work with GRPS on hospitality academy
Officials with Grand Rapids Public Schools, along with tourism industry leaders and faculty members from the Hospitality and Tourism Management Department, are preparing to launch a new college-career prep academy.
The Academy of Hospitality and Tourism Management will open in fall 2019 at Ottawa Hills High School in GRPS, starting with 35 ninth-grade students and growing a grade each year to become a 9-12 grade school.
George Grant, dean of the College of Community and Public Service, said hospitality is the second largest industry in Michigan, and one out of every 10 jobs is connected to the hospitality field.
“This academy is a wonderful step in expanding options for students and maintaining the talent pipeline in West Michigan,” said Grant. “It will build awareness of the many varied professional opportunities, competencies, and hard and soft skills needed to succeed at the management and executive level.”
Grant said HTM faculty will help develop and review curriculum and students will serve as peer mentors. This will include Grand Valley students who are involved in the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality student organization.
Photo by Amanda Pitts
George Grant, dean of the College of Community and Public Service, speaks during a news conference October 16 at Cygnus27 in Grand Rapids about the partnership with GRPS and area tourism leaders.
Ron Gorman, assistant superintendent at GRPS, said the academy will encourage creativity and innovation through career exploration including event planning, entertainment, sports, marketing and customer service.
Michael Sciarini, chair of the HTM Department, said many students don’t find out about the HTM field until they are already in college, so this community engagement effort is crucial in letting students know about opportunities early.
“There are several hot jobs in the HTM field right now, including event management — from weddings to concerts to athletic events — tourism and destination marketing, hotel operations, and the food and beverage industry,” said Sciarini.
Representatives from Grand Valley, GRPS, Experience Grand Rapids, and AHC+Hospitality are collaborating to launch the academy. Members from each organization, along with other industry leaders, will serve on an advisory board.