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York College Hospitality Management program earns praise from industry executive

February 06, 2017
John Longstreet

Standing before a class of Hospitality Management students at York College of Pennsylvania, John Longstreet was impressed by the students’ industry knowledge and insightful questions.

“When I get in a classroom and hear a question and see how students present themselves, I get a good idea of how the students are,” says Longstreet, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association. “I would rank the students at York College right up there with some of the brightest I’ve met.”

Longstreet enjoys providing insight to college students, especially those in Hospitality Management programs, the field in which he has dedicated his career.

It’s an area of expertise he can speak from with plenty of experience, from studying at Cornell University to two decades with Bristol Hotels and Resorts, along with a couple of other stops, including chairing the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association.

With that background, it’s easy to see why York College of Pennsylvania Hospitality Management Professor Michelle La Motte, a classmate of Longstreet’s at Cornell University, invited him to speak to her students.

Longstreet connected with Professor La Motte at a Cornell University alumni event in Harrisburg, and he was impressed with the program and student body at the school much smaller than most of those he normally visits.

“The concept of bringing industry people to the classroom – if you get someone that connects well – can enhance the program,” he says. “I love that York College has that built into their curriculum.”

Helping students find their niche

For York College Hospitality Management Senior Alexander Iula, connecting with industry experts has helped him find a direction for where he wants to go with his own career.

With his hopes set on landing a position at a large-scale events company, Alexander says, his professors at York College have helped him make connections with professionals he might not otherwise have a chance to meet.

“The discussions we get to have focus not only on someone’s personal experience in the field, but they help guide us on what we should look for in a job and focus on what the industry will be like when we graduate,” he says. “Those connections are invaluable.”

Longstreet says that speaking to a classroom is beneficial for him, too.

“We spent a lot of time talking about the impact of millennials on business,” Longstreet says. “The millennials tend to gravitate toward independent boutique styles. We know that millennials really like cause-based businesses.”

Building connection that last a lifetime

The connections that York College students make in the classroom have become the keys to success once they start their careers.

“There have been so many people from so many different areas of the Hospitality industry in our classrooms,” Alexander says. “They each bring a unique perspective and detail about what we can expect when we go into the workforce.”

It’s thanks to those connections that Alexander feels confident as he prepares for graduation in the spring. While he builds a solid foundation for his start in the Hospitality industry, he knows his York College professors have the resources to help him find the right people in the right places.

“I don’t think I could ask for a more well-rounded, diverse education,” he says. “I’m really glad York College could provide that for me.”

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