SF State's hospitality and tourism management program receives grant for career center

J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation to fund career preparation and recruitment opportunities


SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 13 -- San Francisco State University has received a $250,000 grant from The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation to create a career and professional development program for students in the hospitality and tourism fields.

The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation Hospitality and Tourism Management Global Student Career and Professional Development Program is slated to begin in fall 2013. As the centerpiece of the program, a new resource center on the SF State campus will provide hospitality students with leadership training, job search skills and placements in jobs and internships.

A photo of students working in the Vista Room.

The Vista Room, a student-run fine dining experience, is an important component of the Hospitality and Tourism Management program.

"Our graduates earn a well-rounded business education that’s coupled with practical experience, making them valuable hires,” said Linda Oubre, dean of the College of Business. "This additional professional development component will help ensure our students gain meaningful employment upon graduation.”

The hospitality industry is among the largest employers in the Bay Area, and corporations look to SF State for their future employees.

"The new program will give our students an exciting opportunity to connect with hospitality industry insiders," said Janet Sim, chair of the Hospitality and Tourism Management Department. "We spend a lot of time making sure our graduating seniors have all the skills they need to excel in their careers. The resource center is an extension of our focus on career preparation."

The grant will be used to renovate a room in the Business building on SF State's main campus and hire career counselors to train students in leadership, business etiquette, team building, cultural awareness and self-analysis. Sim noted that representatives and recruiters from Marriott International and other companies will have a strong presence at the center, offering students an opportunity to network and connect with possible future employers.

"The Foundation is proud to partner with San Francisco State on this initiative” said Anne Gunsteens, executive director of The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation. "The program and new resource center will not only showcase the offerings of the school’s Hospitality and Tourism Management Department, but will help connect SF State’s hard working students with careers in the hospitality industry."

The Hospitality and Tourism Management Department is housed within the College of Business and direct experience in the hospitality industry is a strong component of the degree program. Students must complete an extensive and rigorous internship requirement in order to graduate, and are able to choose from a variety of hospitality emphases, including hotel, restaurant and event management.

The program's curriculum also emphasizes diversity and cultural awareness, and students at the center will have the opportunity to work with international companies to learn more about the increasingly globalized hospitality field.

"Cultural awareness and the ability to work with a globalized workforce is a strong component of success in the hospitality industry," said Gunsteens.