New Sierra College courses target resort industry | SierraSun.com

New Sierra College courses target resort industry

Christine StanleySierra Sun

The local hospitality industry is about to receive a huge boost in the number of qualified employees now that Sierra College has implemented its recreation management program at the Tahoe Truckee Campus.The budding associates degree program has been touted by Rick Rantz, the colleges dean, for months. Rantz said he sees it as one of the programs that will bring economic benefit to the community by offering practical employment opportunities for area teens seeking local work after graduation and for international workers seeking hospitality jobs in the Sierra.Our goal is to train workers to enter the workforce above entry-level positions, Rantz said. It is our hope that in meeting these needs we can help workers to seek better jobs that will pay a livable wage.The first two recreation management classes Foundations of Recreation, Tourism and Resort Management (RTRM), and Leadership in RTRM are being offered now, and two additional classes Program Planning & Event Management, and Leisure Aspects of the Hospitality Industry will be offered in the spring semester.Students involved will have the opportunity to work with industry professionals, plan community events and learn what it takes to run Tahoes multi-million dollar hotels, resorts and golf courses, said professor Catherine Bening.Sierra Colleges recreation management program is tailored after a similar program at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colo. that focuses on group development and leadership, communication and wilderness studies, according to Recreation Management Department Chairman Jim Forkum, and will provide students with hands-on experience and a local internship program.We are still trying to further identify industry needs and trends, Forkum said, but added that the classes now offered will ready participants for jobs at local ski resorts, golf courses, recreation and parks districts and outfitting companies. More than 10,000 employees currently work in North Lake Tahoes travel industry, which includes nearly a dozen golf courses and four major ski resorts, according to the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. The need for hundreds more employees will come with the opening of the new Ritz-Carlton Highlands at Northstar-at-Tahoe, educators said.We are hoping that our program will not only attract our local kids but will also bring people here, said Sierra College trustee Dave Ferrari. They are designed to meet the needs of a changing society and out faculty is constantly innovating to meet the demands.

Classes start today for Sierra Colleges new recreation management program at the Tahoe Truckee Campus, but registration will continue through the week. To register, or to find out more check out http://www.sierracollege.edu or call 587-3849.