Northern Arizona University program preparing students for future in hospitality industry

Jan 14, 2022, 4:45 AM

(Pexels photo)...

(Pexels photo)

(Pexels photo)

PHOENIX — The pandemic may have thrown the hospitality industry a curveball, but it’s coming back in a big way.

Northern Arizona University’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Management is working to prepare students for a future in the industry as new positions continue to open up.

The program gets students ready for a variety of jobs within the hospitality industry, from nutrition and catering to marketing and software development for restaurants.

“The objective of the program is to teach leadership skills, management skills… skills that will prepare the student for a life-long learning experience,” Dr. Robert Cannon, an assistant professor with the program, said.

He added struggles in the industry over the past few years have actually opened up some new doors.

“Turbulent times can create opportunity that may not have been there before,” he said. “I tell our students to be very flexible, have a sense of urgency and be a change agent when change needs to occur.”

That change is happening quickly in Arizona. The state’s population continuing to grow year over year is one obvious reason, but Cannon said other factors are contributing to the state’s expanding hospitality sector.

“We’re in between two very populous states, California and Texas, so we have a lot of cross travel,” he said. “Plus, consumers want to get out and travel this summer and spring.”

Cannon acknowledges the hospitality industry isn’t a life-long career for many of its workers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found turnover in the hospitality industry sits at around 70% to 80% annually, which is yet another reason new workers are so in demand.

“We’re trying through our educational programs, our governmental programs and our industry trade associations… to tell workers getting into the industry that it’s not just a pass-through career,” Cannon said. “Our students today know this can be a life-long career.”

NAU’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Management operates on the university’s Flagstaff campus, as well as through partnerships with Scottsdale and Pima community colleges.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook Photo/Pinal County Sheriff's Office)...

Rescue efforts underway after plane crashes in mountain area near Apache Junction

Authorities are responding to a plane crash in the Superstition Mountain area near Apache Junction. 

11 hours ago

(Facebook photo/Phoenix Union High School District)...

Phoenix, Mesa high schools receive $950k grant to expand dual enrollment

ElevateEdAZ, a Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation initiative, received a $950,000 grant to expand dual enrollment in two large Valley public school districts.

11 hours ago

(Facebook Photos/Over Easy)...

SuElen Rivera

Over Easy breakfast restaurant to open new location in Chandler

Popular breakfast restaurant Over Easy is expanding in the Valley with the opening of its latest location later this month. 

11 hours ago

Celebrity interior designer Bobby Berk — who stars on Netflix's 'Queer Eye' as the interior desig...

Angela Gonzales/Phoenix Business Journal

Bobby Berk’s exclusive deal with fast-growing builder includes Phoenix metro homes

Celebrity interior designer Bobby Berk has entered into an exclusive design and model home collaboration, including in metro Phoenix.

11 hours ago

(Pexels Photo)...

Brandon Gray

Construction on The Shops at Lake Pleasant in Peoria underway

Construction on The Shops at Lake Pleasant in Peoria has started, the shopping center owner Vestar announced in a press release Friday. 

1 day ago

(Tim Hacker/ Mesa Public Schools)...

ADHS offering free drinking water lead screening for schools, child care facilities

The Arizona Department of Health Services is offering free drinking water lead screening opportunities for schools and child care facilities as part of a nationwide program.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles



Here are the biggest tips to keep your AC bill low this summer

PHOENIX — In Arizona during the summer, having a working air conditioning unit is not just a pleasure, but a necessity. No one wants to walk from their sweltering car just to continue to be hot in their home. As the triple digits hit around the Valley and are here to stay, your AC bill […]


Desert Institute for Spine Care

Spinal fusion surgery has come a long way, despite misconceptions

As Dr. Justin Field of the Desert Institute for Spine Care explained, “we've come a long way over the last couple of decades.”


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Northern Arizona University program preparing students for future in hospitality industry