ELO coordinators visit the DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Downtown and learn about one of the most coveted jobs in hospitality
As I travel and visit different groups such as Girls Inc. and the Boys & Girls Club, and participate in industry panels and activities such as Hospitality Month, I continue to have conversations with students and educators about hospitality.
When students think of career pathways in the hospitality industry, they picture a chef in a restaurant or front desk agent in a hotel. We know these careers are vital to the industry, but there are overlooked and underutilized opportunities in hospitality that lead to a path of success. With your help, I’m working on changing this perception. This starts by highlighting the broad category of fields within the service industry such as hotels and resorts, restaurants, event planning, theme parks and marketing and sales.
On Thursday, November 15, Ray Bewsher, director of human resources at the DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Downtown and myself hosted twenty Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) coordinators. There is a strong focus in New Hampshire high schools (and middle schools) to offer students learning experiences outside the traditional classroom setting. These experiences are called Extended Learning Opportunities (ELOs). ELOs are proficiency-based, relevant, flexible and supported by adult community members.
Coveted careers in hospitality
We began the morning with an ice-breaker. The coordinators each wore a sticky note on their back and they had to ask yes or no questions to determine what their job was. The jobs ranged from chef, expeditor and front desk manager to HVAC, controller and night auditor.
One of the jobs was coffee break attendant. When Ray stated it was one of the more coveted roles at the hotel, the coordinators were shocked.
“Why?” they asked.
Ray went on to tell them the coffee break attendant worked mainly first shift (Monday – Friday) and the attendant made $50,000 per year.
“WHAT?!” they exclaimed.
This outburst was followed by two teachers raising their hands stating this was more than they were making in education. This was exactly the type of exercise we needed to emphasize the earning potential in hospitality!
The group later embarked on a tour of the hotel and saw everything – sales, the spa, the pool, banquets, the kitchen and the “underbelly” where the laundry, engineering and HVAC live. Along the way, Ray discussed jobs in each area and highlighted an entry level position and its salary followed by what it would take to progress in the role and in responsibilities.
After a recent run-in with the coordinators, the group still expressed interest and excitement surrounding the hospitality tour. Ray and I met our goal of showcasing the industry to the ELO coordinators who are on the front line with the next generation of employees each day. They are now ambassadors of the opportunities, pathways and growth we know the industry provides. The hope is the coordinators register their students when Hospitality Month arrives in April.
Registration for the second annual New Hampshire Hospitality Month will open in January. Please contact me, Amie Pariseau, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to participate or if you have questions about the NH SPI hospitality sector.