South Seattle Community College: Five-Star Hospitality Careers Begin at South Seattle
The inaugural graduates of South Seattle Community College's Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Hospitality Management program who were awarded their degrees in June 2009 are future hospitality industry leaders. Their 21st century skill set includes knowledge and hands-on experience in marketing, human resources, management, and technical applications in all facets of the hospitality industry. Those transferable skills enable them to work in tourism, hotel operation, restaurant management, catering, cruise ship, and casino operations, or travel—anywhere in the world.
The 90-credit program is the only one of its kind in Western Washington, and is designed for certified professionals and graduates of two-year technical (AAS-T) programs. The BAS in Hospitality Management degree program began in fall 2007 with 24 students; since then enrollment has tripled and articulation agreements with seven community colleges and one state college have either been completed or are in process.
Unique to the program is a quarter-long capstone course that emphasizes the practical application of theory in the working environment. Teams participate in a computer simulated virtual hotel management project, presenting their results throughout the quarter. It makes for a lively competition, with teams learning from each other's successes and failures.
A 1000-hour industry experience requirement helps students gain additional occupational competencies while providing important networking opportunities. The college's location, in a city that consistently ranks among the top 10 tourist destinations, is a decided advantage. With nearly 45,000 hotel rooms, an active port that serves five major cruise lines, and more than 9,000 restaurants, Seattle-King County is a hospitality hub.
Now in the third year of class-delivery, some important new program processes have been implemented, including a comprehensive BAS in Hospitality Management student handbook. Entering students also participate in an innovative orientation, "Thought Patterns for a Successful College Experience," delivered by The Pacific Institute.