Moorefield, W.Va. – A grant of $316,230.00 was awarded to Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College (Eastern) for their proposal of Pathways to Accessible Tourism and Hospitality Education for Career Development (PATHED). The funds for this award come from the West Virginia Department of Tourism through the Economic Development Administration because of Governor Justice’s investment in tourism for the state. This grant allows Eastern to provide support for the development of a new academic certificate program in Hospitality and Tourism Management.
The 30-credit certificate will serve multiple purposes. It will prepare individuals for immediate entry into the industry with skills-based education, as well as provide pathways for culinary/hospitality vocational secondary students to earn college credit. Concurrently, this will allow opportunities for students to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Business Management with a concentration in Hospitality and Tourism Management via a fully-articulated program. Finally, this enables those currently employed in the industry to earn college credit for potential job advancement. This education program is set to begin in August 2024. “Eastern is thrilled to be part of the Governor’s historic investment in the State’s growing tourism industry,” said Debra Frank, Hospitality & Tourism Management Program Coordinator for Eastern, “I look forward to collaborating with secondary schools and tourism partners to create a unique, hands-on training experience designed to provide hospitality operators and employees with tools for success.”
The primary goal is to bring the region more accessibility to Hospitality and Tourism education by providing a skills-based education pathway that can be obtained in the Potomac Highlands region of West Virginia. The next goal is to build a skilled workforce that will help meet the demand for employers in the industry. “We are excited about offering an innovative educational approach towards earning a certificate in the hospitality and tourism sector,” said Tom Striplin, Ed.D. president of Eastern, “The online/hybrid program allows students to continue to work full-time while completing coursework online towards the certificate of completion.”
Throughout this program, students will learn the best practices and regulations of hospitality and tourism for the region. Topics will range from the economic impact of tourism, laws that impact the industry, how to communicate effectively in business, management, leadership, and customer service skills, and cost control and marketing for service-oriented businesses. Many local schools, businesses, and organizations showed support for Eastern’s proposal of PATHED. Among them were Hardy County Schools, Hampshire High School, South Branch Career & Technical Center, Blackwater Falls State Park, Capon Valley Resort & Conference Center, Capon Springs and Farms Resort, and Lost River Trading Post. “We are eager to provide training to our students for careers in this industry, which are in high demand,” said Dr. Megan Webb, dean of advancement and continuing education at Eastern, “It’s an honor to invest in these local businesses and the rural economies continued growth, from local tourism and guests to the Potomac Highlands Region.”