LONG BEACH, Calif.—For most high school students, it’s a time of beginning the process of evaluating career opportunities to determine which would be the right fit. Often, viable career opportunities are overlooked because students aren’t exposed to them. That’s why the recent visits of the Jordan High School Academy of Hospitality (AOHT) students at two Marriott properties in Long Beach, Calif. were so important and left many of them considering the opportunities in the hospitality industry.
The joint job shadowing events, consisting of a total of 50 students, were held at the Long Beach Courtyard Marriott and the Renaissance hotel.
“The students were impressed with how the hotels are little cities and how busy the operations areas were in comparison to the areas for guests which were calm,” said Kellie Hodge, the director of the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism program at the school. “They loved being in a luxury hotel, a first time experience for almost all of them.”
The Academy of Hospitality and Tourism is part of NAF, a national network of education, business, and community leaders who work together to ensure high school students are college, career, and future ready.
“The students are able to make real world connections that bridge the gap between classroom lessons and industry careers,” said Hodge. “What this event demonstrated is that no matter their interest in a particular area, whether it be finance, or operations, or marketing, there’s a career path in the hospitality industry.” She explained the event also provided the students with an opportunity to interact with industry professionals and learn the educational and career paths they took to get where they are. The students were also very interested in the career aspirations of those working in the hotel.
The job shadowing events are a key component of the NAF program that also features internships and career development workshops.
“The managers of the two Marriott properties demonstrated hospitality to the students the moment they walked in the door,” said Hodge. “It was like the students were being treated as paying guests, certainly a novelty for most of them.”
Since many of these students are interested in a potential career in hospitality, one other thing came out of the event.
“Many of the students asked for the HR director’s card before they left,” said Hodge. “I was extremely pleased to see that, it’s one of the things we encourage our students to do. They know you need to be assertive to make things happen.”