In an industry focused on creating great experiences for customers, details matter. Teaching students how to ensure they exceed standards is our new Hospitality and Hotel Management instructor’s number one goal.
Mr. Chris Palladino joined the North Tech teaching staff last year and brought with him over a decade of experience in hotel management. After earning his undergraduate degree in Hotel and Restaurant Administration and a Master’s degree in Business Administration focused in Hospitality, Palladino began first an internship, then a career with Hyatt. He held management and director positions in several departments in Chicago and Louisville before settling in St. Louis.
Prior to Palladino’s tenure, North Tech offered a similar program that focused on tourism. Recent increases in demand for young professionals in hospitality management required a fresh look at the course and it continues to evolve.
Currently, students focus on learning both the service and management responsibilities of the many departments that keep hotels operational. “They have all of the departments that we currently teach at North Tech…culinary, engineering, transportation”, said Palladino. Showing students the breadth of the industry includes informing them that it is the 2nd largest employer in the country. Ample hotel career opportunities, both regionally and internationally, await students in areas like event planning, front desk management, and more. These skills translate well to other career paths in sports event management, concert planning, and other entertainment-related experiences.
Current business partner LHM Hotels, owners of 19 hotels in the St. Louis area, is supporting students through weekly shadowing events at their properties. Students will shadow both line level (meaning staff level) and management positions in several departments. This real-world look at their lessons in action will help students steer their post-secondary planning as the careers that most interest them come into focus.
Palladino has also championed the addition of a school store in which his students hold all management positions. “They did all of the interviewing and hiring of our staff,” he said. Students will learn to manage their inventory, money, and staff as the store expands throughout the year. Current offerings are snack focused, but apparel and electronics will soon be added.
A replication of a front desk and lobby area is being added to Palladino’s classroom in which students will role-play various scenarios, manage technology, and practice management and customer service skills. He hopes to continue to expand student opportunities as the second year of the course develops.
Students in this program can earn up to 10 credits from St. Louis Community College and 6 from Missouri State University, as well as earn their American Hotel & Lodging Hospitality Management Tourism Professional certification. To learn more about the Hospitality and Hotel Management major at North Tech, click here: http://northtechnical.org/programs/.