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GVSU, GRPS and industry leaders to establish hospitality academy

  • George Grant, dean of CCPS, speaks at a news conference Oct.16 in Grand Rapids about the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
  • George Grant, center, with Ron Gorman, right, assistant superintendent of GRPS, and Jeffrey Burns, assistant GM at The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck.

Posted on October 16, 2018

Officials with Grand Rapids Public Schools, along with tourism industry leaders and faculty members from the Hospitality and Tourism Management Department at Grand Valley, 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.

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 at Grand Valley, 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.

About the GVSU HTM Program

Grand Valley's HTM program was established in 1977 in response to the need for professionally trained managers. The HTM program offers a Bachelor of Science degree with emphases in: food and beverage management, lodging management, meeting and event management, recreation and leisure management, and tourism management.

The curriculum is taught by faculty with industry experience. For more information, visit www.gvsu.edu/htm.