Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES is training the next generation of hotel managers, special event planners and recreation staff through its Hospitality and Tourism program.
The program was featured during a recent BOCES board meeting.
Instructor Michele Dawley was joined by a former student, Alysa Rogosienski of Franklinville, and a current student, Emily Thompson of Pioneer. Hospitality and tourism is a one-year program at the Ellicottville Career Tech Center that works in conjunction with such area tourist spots as Holiday Valley resort and Seneca Allegany Casino.
Michele Dawley, Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES Hospitality & Tourism instructor, left, is pictured with former student Alysa Rogosienski and current student Emily Thompson.
Mrs. Dawley said the one-year course covers the services associated with operating businesses and managing facilities associated with hospitality and tourism. These can include the cruise industry, car rentals, airlines, food and beverage, sporting events, and event centers.
She pointed out that students in her class are eligible to earn up to 12 college credits from Genesee Community College, which has its own Hospitality and Tourism program. The credits are transferable, and three students are currently enrolled to earn the higher credits.
One convenience of the program is that it is largely based at Holiday Valley, which makes it easy for students to complete their internships there if they choose to do so.
Last year, students also participated in seminars at the Seneca Allegany Casino, where they learned about the gaming industry, hotel/restaurant operation, and special event logistics.
Mrs. Dawley said new internship locations this year include Holimont, once the ski season begins. She added that all of the students who were in last year's class were offered jobs at Holiday Valley, and several chose to work there this past summer.
A new initiative for the class is the development of a first-ever map showing tourism sites and stores around Ellicottville, which area businesses have expressed a lot of interest in.
Emily Thompson said she is enjoying the program and the opportunity it presents to gain college credits before high school graduation. Her career goal is to become a cruise director.
Alysa Rogosienski, who graduated last June, said the program helped her gain full-time employment at Holiday Valley.
"They call me 'Swiss army knife,' because I can pretty much go anywhere they need me to go. That's due to all the areas I worked in last year," Alysa said.
She is planning to attend college starting next year to study business management.