Prospects for UMass Amherst Hospitality Majors Bright

AMHERST, Mass. - The job market in the hospitality industry is "booming," and that’s good news for this year’s graduating seniors, says the head of the department of hotel, restaurant, and travel administration (HRTA) at the University of Massachusetts.

Students now are really in the driver’s seat when it comes to searching for a job and choosing a position, says HRTA head Frank Lattuca, who predicts that more than half of this year’s senior HRTA majors will receive at least four or five solid job offers. (About 130 majors are seniors; total number of majors is about 510 students.)

Lattuca attributes the rosy job outlook to a generally strong economy overall, a rise in hotel construction, and the fact that people are simply traveling more nowadays. The overall pool of qualified new graduates is somewhat limited this year as well, says Lattuca.

One indicator that the job market in the hospitality industry is strong is the fact that, according to Lattuca, about a dozen more companies than last year will be represented at the department’s 23rd annual Career Day, to be held Wed., March 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Campus Center Auditorium. The event is coordinated by a student Career Day committee.

Some 65 firms, many of them representing national or international corporations, will take part in the job fair, this year titled "Discover Your Destination." Some of the companies participating include: American Express Travel; Boston Harbor Hotel; Boston Park Plaza; Canyon Ranch; Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse; Chart House Inc.; Enterprise Rent-A-Car; Foxwoods Resort Casino; Hyatt Hotels Corp.; Marriott Management Services; Omni Hotels; Red Lion Inn; and Windham Hotels & Resorts.

Lattuca also says employers are interested in hiring UMass HRTA graduates because of the quality of the University’s program. For both 1996 and 1997, the hotel, restaurant, and travel administration program at UMass was ranked No. 4 in a listing of the top 23 programs in the country in The Gourman Report of undergraduate degree programs published by The Princeton Review. According to Lattuca, there are approximately 200 four-year hospitality programs in the U.S.

"We’ve got a very strong program with top-notch students here at UMass, and industry recruiters know it," Lattuca says.