PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University students are testing their skills in internships throughout the country this summer.
As 85 students took professional-training positions at the end of spring semester, the WSU Hotel & Restaurant Administration Program (HRA) officially increased its internship placement rate more than sevenfold over the past year. Those hospitality students from the university’s Pullman campus are as close as north Idaho and as far away as Guam and Korea. They are also in 19 American states from Hawaii and Alaska to Arizona and Florida.
“We have students at Denali National Park, Disneyland and Disneyworld, several Marriott’s, Harvey’s at Lake Tahoe, Red Robin’s, and in dozens of hotels, fine dining and family restaurants, and country and golf clubs around the nation,” says Lewis Reed, HRA instructor and internship coordinator. “It’s a wonderful summer!”
Reed attributes this year’s internship placement success to a “really concentrated partnership effort with corporations, and HRA’s efforts to get more students meaningful summer experience in hospitality.” The students receive hands-on training in various aspects of the hospitality industry, plus wages.
“Companies get a chance to see our students’ abilities, and students get a chance to see if this is the right company for them in the future. It’s a win-win opportunity,” he said.
Internships, Reed says, undoubtedly figure heavily in the HRA program’s outstanding placement rate for graduates. More than 95 percent of hospitality students have multiple job offers upon graduation. Many of those students have completed at least one internship while completing their four-year degree in Hotel & Restaurant Administration from the accredited WSU College of Business and Economics.
The 65-year-old hospitality program at WSU (the fifth oldest in the country) ranks consistently among the top five percent of 170 similar programs nationwide. More than 500 undergraduates are enrolled in the WSU HRA program in Pullman, Seattle, or Brig, Switzerland. As of fall semester beginning in August, students interested in hospitality can major or minor in the program.