Bethesda Marriott Suites Teams with Local High School to Teach About Hospitality Industry Internship

December 17, 2009 (PRLEAP.COM) Travel News
Bethesda, Md. December 17, 2009 The students grabbed their pencils and notebooks as they filed into the classroom. This could be the beginning of an ordinary day at school at any high school, but instead, this class is in the ballroom of the Bethesda Marriott Suites. Here, students from Thomas Edison High School of Technology in Silver Spring are attending an orientation to prepare them for their hospitality industry internship at the Bethesda Marriott Suites in Maryland.

This hospitality internship program is part of the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism program offered through Montgomery County Public Schools. The hospitality program began in 1984 and is designed as an internship to introduce kids to the hospitality industry with an emphasis on hotel operations and management. Through this year-long hospitality internship program, they will learn about running the front desk, engineering, kitchen/restaurant, housekeeping, and sales and events. Students from 21 high schools across Montgomery County participated in this Bethesda internship program at Edison; approximately 95 percent of those participants have furthered their education following high school.

"I started this program to help fill the growing needs of the large hotel and tourism industry here in Washington, DC," says Kathaleen Scott, director of the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism. "The program provides experience that our students can't get anywhere else. The Bethesda Marriott Suites opened their arms to us and invited us in so our kids can experience for themselves what it is like to work in the industry."

In February, the hospitality interns will begin shadowing department managers to observe what they do and how the various areas of the hotel are managed. Then in April, the interns will spend two weeks rotating through each of the departments to experience for themselves what it is like to work in the hotel industry. In May, the students work with the human resources managers to learn interview skills. For some, this can be the next step toward entering a college hospitality management degree program, and for others it is a precursor to joining the workforce.

Rachelle Desir is a server in the Bethesda Marriott Suites Democracy Grille and a student at the University of Maryland. She is a 2003 graduate of the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism internship program at Thomas Edison High School of Technology. Ms. Desir feels that her experiences in the hospitality internship program opened her eyes to the opportunities in the hotel industry. "Hospitality is an area that I was always interested in and participating in the program motivated me to pursue a degree in hotel management," said Ms. Desir. "After I get my degree, I'm looking forward to traveling and meeting people worldwide."

"We've been a partner with Thomas Edison High School in this program for 15 years," explains Keith O'Neill, general manager of the Bethesda Marriott Suites where the hospitality internship is held. "Something that has been interesting to me is the surprise the kids have over the level of work that goes into managing the front desk and in housekeeping. This program opens their eyes to a lot of things and prepares them for the real world of the hospitality industry. "

The Bethesda Marriott Suites is located at 6711 Democracy Blvd, Bethesda, MD. Visit or call 301-897-5600 for more information.