Hospitality, Tourism Leaders to Focus on Workforce

Posted on March 1, 2017
Alice Jackson

Leaders of the Gulf Coast’s hospitality and tourism industry will discuss ways to increase and train the area’s workforce during the University of South Alabama’s Hospitality & Tourism Workforce Summit, March 5-6, in Mobile.

“Tourism is one of the most vital economic engines driving Alabama’s Gulf Coast today, but to remain competitive and continue to deliver the highest level of experience our customers have come to expect, we all must rely on well-educated and highly skilled professionals from hotel administration and management to top culinary artists and all manner of customer service specialists,” said Michael A. Perhaes, vice president of corporate marketing, Wind Creek Hospitality, the event’s sponsor.

Among the numerous industry participants will be Julian MacQueen, a South alumnus who is founder and CEO of the Innisfree Hotels company; Allen Godfrey, executive director, Mississippi Gaming Commission; and Fitzgerald Washington, Alabama’s Secretary of Labor. Panelists include economic development, business and chamber of commerce leaders, mayors and other elected officials as well as members of the advisory board of South’s hospitality and tourism management program and assorted key industry leaders.

“The industry asked for the Summit, and the University is making it happen. It will convene key public and private stakeholders in the Alabama and Mississippi coastal region to discuss and identify hospitality and tourism workforce demand and supply challenges and needs gaps,” said Dr. Evelyn Green, chair of hospitality and tourism management. “We hope Summit feedback and outcomes will help our region prioritize and strategize toward a sustainable regional workforce.”

Session topics include:

  • A Regional Outlook on the Hospitality & Tourism Employment Landscape
  • Stakeholders’ Input & Perspectives on Hospitality & Tourism Workforce Challenges & Needs Gaps
  • Workforce Recruitment, Development & Retention: Best Practices & Solutions
  • Running Your HR like a Business Function
  • The Role of USA in Hospitality & Tourism Workforce Innovation & Human Capital Analytics.

A welcome reception will be held 5-7 p.m. on Sunday, March 5, at the Pillars, 1757 Government St. Final registration will be available 7-7:50 a.m. on Monday, March 6, on the 2nd Floor concourse of the Mobile Convention Center.

Proceeds from the reception will contribute to South’s Hospitality and Tourism Management Scholarship Fund, and proceeds from the Summit will be used for future summits as well as hospitality and tourism workforce development initiatives.

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