NEW YORK—Students from several New York high schools, all part of the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism (AOHT), were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the Waldorf Astoria New York. The event was part of National Groundhog Day, a national campaign that gives young people a new perspective on their studies through hands-on-learning and a one-day mentoring experience.
The event featured close up looks at various departments that make the hotel run efficiently including housekeeping, property operations, and guest services. In addition the students met with hotel executives who provided an understanding of how the hotel was built and how it operates on a daily basis.
According to Sarah Drew, director of training and development for The Waldorf Astoria New York, the hotel had several reasons for participating in the event, one of which was to gain a perspective on the next generation of workers. “I think it’s important for us to look at the future of talent coming into the industry and to inspire them about what exists in our industry today.”
The Academy of Hospitality and Tourism is part of the National Academy Foundation (NAF), a network of career-themed academies that open doors for underserved high school students to viable careers. For more than 30 years, NAF has refined a proven model that provides young people access to industry-specific curricula, work-based learning experiences, and relationships with business professionals. According to the latest figures NAF academies graduated 97 percent of seniors.
“I would like to hope that by seeing the behind the scenes of a large luxury property, which is a rarity for high school students, it makes them consider opportunities available for a career in hospitality,” said Drew. “We emphasize to them that the hotel is not only made up of valuable room attendants or team members who check you in but also finance specialists and those who oversee property management. At the end of the day all of those parts coming together make it a well run business.”