Chamber News & Views: Good wages, personal growth, prestige found in hospitality jobs | NevadaAppeal.com

Chamber News & Views: Good wages, personal growth, prestige found in hospitality jobs

Ronni Hannaman

Dinah Bauman, left, provides the friendly face of the Courtyard by Marriott in Carson City. Dana Childs, right, is the hotel sales manager and keeps the hotel full. Both are “people persons” and enjoy their careers in hospitality.

Love your barista? How about the special server who greets you by name? And the bartender that mixes your drink just the way you like it every time?

Love the greeting you get when checking into a hotel? Or the cabbie taking the time to point out interesting sights? The flight attendant who makes you feel welcome? The pilot who gives you a friendly farewell as you disembark? Sure makes the travel experience a pleasant one!

These folks and so many others have chosen a career in hospitality, a career where the sky can be the limit and the ladder to success fast and profitable for the outgoing person dedicated to serving the public.

Those performing services such as preparing your coffee just right and providing exemplary service can earn far above their hourly wage. We Americans are accustomed to paying for good service, providing a very good supplement to hourly wages. Employees in other industries receive the same paycheck week after week, relying on cost of living increases or, if they go above and beyond, they may get a pay raise.

But not all hospitality jobs require people skills. There are many behind-the-scenes jobs leading to great jobs in management and operations. As more technology is introduced daily into the industry, IT jobs are in great demand.

As we are about to enter another graduation season, the about-to-be graduate's ­and their parents' thoughts turn to, what's next?

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We say, consider a career in hospitality — a career offering on-the-job training and the opportunity to grow earn a good salary even without an advanced degree. With a two-year hospitality degree now being offered at Truckee Meadows Community College, the rise to the top can be quick, but a four-year BA in Hospitality Management attained from UNLV can launch your career through the roof.

For students not able to afford college immediately, or for those not wanting to incur almost a lifetime of student loan debt, think hospitality! This is a very labor-intensive industry with many job opportunities in Northern Nevada.

The US Travel Association released stats in August 2017 gleaned from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics attesting to the "significant economic power of the travel industry of America." The study shows the average career salary of those who chose to enter the hospitality/travel field as their first-time job is now earning an average career salary of over $81,000, far higher than any other industry. The study further shows about 40 percent of those who stuck with their hospitality career earn well over $100,000.

Not everyone wants a job in government — this city's primary employer — or wants to manufacture widgets, pound nails, or interact with a robot. The hospitality industry is where the "fun" and growth jobs can be found for the first-time job seeker or those seeking a second career post retirement. Few hospitality employees will ever say their job is boring or the same ole, same ole. Each day brings fresh new challenges — for the person who loves fresh, new challenges!

As Carson City continues to grow and prosper, hospitality jobs will continue to be plentiful. Lucky will those be who qualify for jobs at the Martin Hotel Basque Restaurant scheduled to open in early summer. This restaurant is sure to be popular with locals and visitors and will be "the" game changer long sought for the downtown.

The Gather, a new restaurant also slated to open in early summer at the corner of Telegraph and Carson streets, will soon be hiring staff. This one-block section between Telegraph and Proctor streets encompassing both Carson and Curry streets will effectively be our "restaurant row" when these two new dining establishments open.

Our local hotels and restaurants are always looking for people who won't mind working shifts and on weekends ­— whether part-time or full-time. Though there is not a new hotel build on the horizon, Reno is building hotels fast and furiously. As Dana Childs, sales manager of the local Courtyard by Marriott attests, "Hospitality is one of the most flexible of industries and shifts can be worked around schooling or other family needs."

The hospitality industry has been around since the beginning of time offering shelter, food, entertainment, transportation and more to those traveling away from home. The World Travel & Tourism Council cites travel and tourism as the fastest growing industry globally and that growth is not expected to wane. With the continued interest in travel, we see how important safe and reliable tour operators, airlines, hotels, dining establishments, museums and cultural attractions are to the traveling public.

For those considering becoming a chef or line cook, a front desk clerk, a server, a flight attendant, a tour director, a casino worker or any job that is now considered "new collar" and not requiring an expensive degree, talk to those now employed within the industry. Childs comes from a family with roots in the hospitality industry, though she chose a career in education spanning three decades. But, she's back to her roots for her second career.

During the recession, those employed in the hospitality industry retained their jobs while the good paying jobs took a nose-dive. But, the myth of low-paying hospitality jobs is just that — a myth. Just as in any career one enters on the ground floor, the entry salary may not be great, but the advancement up the ladder of success and riches is far greater and sooner.

Many hospitality employers provide apprenticeships and management training programs.

According to Brendan Pringle, writing online for the Washington Examiner, April 12, 2018, "A career in tourism might just be the way for Gen Z to avoid the pitfalls of their over-educated, underpaid millennial counterparts."

Join the more than 300 million worldwide now employed in an industry where you can start on the ground floor and become a manager in a few short years. In travel careers, the world is your oyster. I know this to be true, for I started my career in this industry as a flight attendant and have held wonderful jobs in various aspects of the industry throughout my working career and have never looked back.

To learn about the new Hospitality & Tourism management curriculum being offered at Truckee Meadows Community College this fall, log on to http://www.tmcc.edu/business/disciplines/hospitality/, or contact Vanina Coudriet at 775-673-7227.