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November 7, 2012

Hospitality Management at Blinn serves a vital role

Texas A&M’s move to the SEC heightens the need for qualified service providers and managers

Hospitality Management at Blinn
Blinn College’s hospitality management program fills the need for skilled service managers for local businesses such as BJ’s. From left: Blinn Instructor Sandra Schaeffer, students Jessica Hayes and Elyssia Garcia, Program Coordinator Jennifer Garcia and BJ’s Senior Manager Broc McKee.

With football fans descending upon the Brazos Valley in even greater numbers, area hotels and restaurants are seeking higher-skilled employees with a background in business and an aptitude for offering quality service.

The hospitality management program at Blinn College is helping that need. Now in its third semester, the certificate program qualifies students to obtain management positions in hotels, motels, spas, restaurants, event planning companies and travel companies – businesses that are expected to grow in the years ahead with Texas A&M University’s recent move to the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Fans in the SEC are known to travel well, particularly to away games, which is expected bring a flood of new visitors to Bryan-College Station each year.

A recent study conducted by Oxford Economics found that spending in the Brazos County economy is expected to increase by $23 million due to Texas A&M’s conference switch. The university could see an increase of 17,000-18,000 spectators per home football game, or 120,000 extra fans in town, spending money in local hotels, shops and restaurants each season.

“Bryan-College Station is about to become a destination for sports fans from around the nation, and we’re going to need qualified service providers and managers that can make College Station a place people want to keep coming to,” said Jennifer Garcia, Blinn’s coordinator for applied business.

Of the SEC-member schools, only Louisiana State University is within 500 miles of College Station.

“These greater distances of travel will encourage longer stays in College Station and thus a higher average spending per trip,” the report says.

Blinn’s hospitality management program, which offers a 30-credit hour certificate, blends traditional business courses such as introduction to business, accounting and human resources management with classes specifically geared toward hospitality management such as introduction to hospitality, convention and group management and services and internship for hospitality management.

Garcia recommends the program to students who want to earn higher wages while working toward related degrees such as business administration, small business management or accounting, and non-traditional students who either want to move up in a service industry or would like to run their own bed and breakfast.

“With this certificate, our students will have upward mobility and it’s a short investment in time,” Garcia said. “They’re going to get out with the skills they need to manage their own business.”
Students who are good communicators and can manage people are especially successful in the program, according to Garcia, and for those who aren’t strong in those areas, Blinn provides specialized training to strengthen management skills, including communications and courses in human resource management.

In the introduction to hospitality management class, students are granted the opportunity to tour businesses and get behind-the-scenes looks at careers in restaurants, hotels and event planning. The last of the 10 courses in the program is an internship, which may be paid or unpaid.

“This certificate prepares students for a variety of career opportunities,” Garcia said. “This program helps everyone from the restaurant employee who wants a management position to someone who would like to get out from behind a desk and work with people.”

For more information, contact Garcia at 979-209-7530 or jennifer.garcia@blinn.edu.

 

KAGS HD News report by Jenny Walsh