GCU helps fill demand for hospitality and tourism works

Tourism has become Arizona’s number one export industry and Grand Canyon University is helping meet the growing demand for more workers

According to the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) 43.9 million people visited Arizona, spending $22.7 billion in 2017.  

With growth in tourism comes an increase in jobs. AOT reports that last year tourists supported 187,000 tourism/hospitality jobs. However, the fast growth has left the industry with a shortage of workers.

To help fill the growing demand, GCU holds “Get Hired in Hospitality” events that pair students with executives from the top resorts and restaurants.

“It’s very helpful for our students to get exposed to this many properties, it would never happen just by going out in a day and putting resumes out,” Brett Cortright, director of GCU’s Hospitality Management program, said. “It’s great really to bring all these properties to our campus and show them how we’re growing and really what our standards are like. I think it’s important for them to be able to relate to us on a certain level.”

“These events are so crucial and it’s so cool GCU is putting them on,” former GCU student and Executive Assistant at Oxygen Hospitality, Eva Koehne said. “Just to make that face-to-face connection … They get to see your personality when they actually meet you. It’s huge to have that connection when looking for either an internship or a job.”

According to Cassidy Espinola, Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North concierge and GCU senior, “it definitely helps students to network. It’s so important for [us] to get out there, smile, introduce themselves, be positive, put their name out there, and have passion for these companies.”

In 2015, GCU launched a hospitality management program to meet the growing need for workers in the tourism field. The university believes that their professors and the program’s focus on servant leadership is what sets their program apart from other schools.

“The concept that we’re going to lead by serving is not one that everybody in the world gets but it’s something our students are fairly familiar with,” Cortright said. “When it comes to culture, student life, student opportunity and preparation for life after college, I think they’re second to none.”

According to both Espinola and Koehne, all the professors in the program show a real passion for what they’re teaching.  

“Anything that I could’ve known from school, I knew,” Koehne said. “That’s a reason I’ve been able to be so successful in my job is because of the training I got through my classes and through the professors. The course material is great but the professors own experience and how they want to instill that into you and they want to instill the importance of working hard and servant leadership is huge in the program.”

To learn more about GCU’s Hospitality Management program, click here.

Emily Richardson

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