Niagara University’s College of Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management has been awarded a $23,500 grant from the Statler Foundation to support its Hotel Industry Recovery Initiative, a two-tiered effort to assist local hoteliers in attracting, training, supporting, and retaining hotel management staff.
“The college developed this initiative in response to a series of small focus groups and meetings with Western New York hoteliers during the summer of 2021,” said Bridget Niland, dean of the college. “The hoteliers requested both immediate and long-term support from the college to address current and longstanding workforce challenges, including the shortage of crucial entry-level management and customer service positions.”
The grant will enable the college to expand the size and scope of its newly designed cooperative work and practicum program, which was developed in partnership with the local hotel industry. Participating students will be paired with hoteliers as part of a structured learning environment that spans all four years of their studies, giving them valuable real-world experience while providing the hoteliers with short-term workforce support.
The second focus of this initiative is identifying current hotel workforce and training needs through interviews and surveys of key stakeholders, including employers, past employees, and prospective college students. Niagara faculty and senior-level students will perform the research to determine the reasons behind the industry's workforce difficulties and whether the pandemic has added new issues to address. This information will be used to revise and update the college’s curriculum as necessary to better align workforce education with industry needs.