Career seminar could lead to hospitality degree at WNC
A career seminar at the Carson Valley Inn Wednesday marks what its sponsors hope could be the genesis of a new degree program for workers in the hospitality industry.
The two-hour class on how to meet the needs of hotel guests is being led by Bill Chernock, executive director of the Carson Valley Chamber, for about 25 CVI employees. It’s an experiment of sorts, says Chernock.
“It’s the basics of providing outstanding customer service,” he says. “This is a beta. From there, we’ll determine the strengths and weaknesses of this program.”
The program is the first of several courses provided by the American Hotel & Lodging Association that the hotel, chamber and others hope can begin to address a workforce training need in the area.
“There just seems to be a lack of understanding about the hospitality and visitor industry” in northern Nevada, says Ronni Hannaman, executive director, the Carson City Chamber of Commerce. “Las Vegas understands what side the bread is buttered on.”
After hearing about the problem from local hotels, restaurants and retailers, Hannaman approached Western Nevada College.
WNC investigated and found the curriculum at AHLA and joined the group to get access to it. Additional offerings include 40-hour and 160-hour courses and a certificate in hospitality.
“All of these lead to certification by the AHLA,” says Dave Steiger, director of continuing education at WNC in Carson City. “It’s important to have a certificate with national recognition.”
So far, the group’s efforts have been funded by donations from CVI and Hampton Inn & Suites in Carson City. But if the experiment with AHLA coursework proves a success, the long-term goal is to launch a college degree program.
“We would love to end up with two-year degree program at WNC that students can then transfer to UNLV or other any other school with a four-year degree program,” says Hannaman.
“The purpose of the platform is to bring all the resources together, create engagement among entrepreneurs and really be a digital representation of what we have in the startup community,” says Doug Erwin of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, a partner in the project.