Lakeland College, Blue Harbor Resort & Spa, The Osthoff Resort and Destination Kohler have formed a partnership to provide industry experience for Lakeland students and a pipeline of talent for the resorts.
Under the agreement, Blue Harbor, The Osthoff and Destination Kohler will make several entry level positions and/or internships available to Lakeland hospitality management students. The students would still have to interview for the jobs, which are not guaranteed, and the length of employment would depend on job performance.
As part of the program, Lakeland will allow students to live on campus during breaks and summers while working at the resorts, which affords the employers a dependable employment pool during the holidays and in the summer.
“If you ask area executives across all industry sectors what their biggest challenge for the future is, they are likely to respond that the availability of a viable workforce is that challenge,” said David Sanderson, vice president and general manager of Blue Harbor Resort & Spa, located in Sheboygan. “Tourism is no different. With this partnership, we have an opportunity to overcome that challenge, while providing a real-world practical laboratory for students to augment their academic requirements. The potential benefit for students to lower their need for student loans and thus reduce their debt load after graduation is important also.”
Students can earn up to $8,000 per year through the partnership.
“Through this partnership, Lakeland will have the ability to provide professional experiences for students studying hospitality management, and The Osthoff will have access to a new labor distribution channel that’s very industry focused,” said Lola Roeh, general manager at The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake. “We have always had access to Lakeland’s student body, but now Lakeland will be promoting The Osthoff and the other partners as an opportunity for gaining experience in the field.”
The employers will work with Lakeland to establish mutually beneficial work and class schedules for participants in the program.
“Destination Kohler is pleased to collaborate with neighboring Lakeland College to showcase our world-class American Club Hotel and other resort facilities as a classroom of sorts in both accommodations and guest services to a group of engaged, hospitality-focused students eager to explore career opportunities,” said Michael Belot, general manager at Destination Kohler. “We are pleased to have these students learn directly from our talented associates, who excel each day at providing five-star services for our guests.”
Lakeland may, in some cases, hold certain courses on site at the resorts.
“Students and parents want to be sure that their investment will end in a job with good pay and benefits that would not be available without earning a college degree,” said Lakeland President Dan Eck. “This partnership could significantly reduce a hard-working student’s debt load, and, in some cases, even completely eliminate student loan debt—a remarkable achievement that will set those students on a road to financial well-being immediately after graduation.”