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MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES PREPARE TOURISM WORKFORCE

5/3/2019 - Jackson, Miss.

As the Spring semester ends and graduation ceremonies are held, many students and their families turn their thoughts to summer vacation. Whether planning a vacation to the beach, the mountains, a golf resort or a large city, we take for granted that when we arrive, there will be staff there to make our down time run smoothly. We often overlook the individuals who work to make travel and entertainment memorable, yet effortless, for others.

As National Travel and Tourism Week begins on Sunday, May 5, it is important to remember the tourism workforce and how much its members contribute to vacation experiences. Mississippi Public Universities prepare the tourism workforce to create those unforgettable vacations for tourists from within the state, from other states and from other countries.

The University of Southern Mississippi’s degree program in Hospitality and Tourism Management successfully prepares students for a career in the tourism industry with elective options in Casino, Hotel and Resort Management, Food and Beverage Management.

The Culinary Arts Institute at Mississippi University for Women has provided high-quality learning opportunities for aspiring culinary professionals for more than 20 years. With an interdisciplinary instructional focus, the program emphasizes classic cooking techniques in a commercial kitchen with class-sizes designed to make education personal.

In addition to mastering cooking skills and gaining a wealth of food service knowledge, students prepare for employment and leadership opportunities in a range of food studies, including food journalism, food art, nutrition and wellness and culinary management.

Project CHEW (Cook Healthy, Eat Well), The W’s mobile 24-foot, fully equipped catering trailer that features a demonstration kitchen, emphasizes healthy ingredients and food preparation techniques, that are showcased at high schools, community colleges, markets and festivals across the state.

The only Mississippi institution offering a culinary arts major leading to a bachelor’s degree, W graduates can be found working in various hospitality settings locally, in the state and nationwide.

A 40-seat teaching laboratory located in Lenoir Hall on the campus of The University of Mississippi provides Nutrition and Hospitality Management students hands-on experience in all facets of restaurant operations. Throughout the semester, students rotate through various positions within the organization; ranging from service, cooking, and management functions. Members of the public are invited to dine at Lenoir Hall throughout the week and evaluate students to help them improve their skills and increase their knowledge of the food service industry.

Many golfers travel to Mississippi to try their swing on one of the many beautiful, yet challenging, courses in the state. The PGA Golf Management Program at Mississippi State University prepares students for a variety of career paths, including managing golf courses, or working for manufacturers, associations, golf schools and universities. Since 1985, MSU’s PGA Golf Management program has given students the tools needed to become better golfers and managers, working at many of Golf Digest’s Top 100 golf courses as part of the program.

Mississippi is the Birthplace of America’s Music. Its musical heritage, highlighted through museums, trails and numerous festivals and performances, draws thousands of travelers to the state each year. Mississippi Public Universities are preparing the next generation of Mississippi musicians to carry on the tradition.

The Delta Music Institute at Delta State University provides students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative and business areas of the entertainment industries. Offering a bachelor’s degree in Entertainment Industry Studies, the DMI features two world class recording spaces that offer students multiple opportunities to create, edit, and mix audio in the digital realm and provide musicians from across the state, region and country the chance to record in the studios for a reasonable fee.

The DMI Summer Camp, hosted by the DMI Entertainment Industry program, is a six-day interactive experience for high school students to explore four entertainment industry career tracks, culminating in a recording and showcase performance. Students receive hands-on instruction from college faculty, music industry professionals and specialists that blends both academic and real-world applications. During the week, students learn basic creative and technical aspects of songwriting, performing, recording and video production.

Mississippi Valley State University also has a recording studio. The B.B. King Recording Studio allows the university to offer its music majors a concentration in sound recording technology. The program prepares students for careers as recording technicians, mixing engineers, live sound recorders, recording studio owners, and entertainment industry employees. Hands-on training is supplemented by lectures, workshops, clinics and visiting artists.

The University of Southern Mississippi’s bachelor’s degree program in the entertainment industry includes emphasis areas in film, media production and recording industry management and production.

Tourism is big business in Mississippi. In its Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Report, the Mississippi Development Authority reports that “Mississippi’s unique tourism assets, including unique culture, culinary, history, music, natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities, contributed to a $6.343 billion industry in FY18.”

Mississippi Public Universities are preparing the workforce that will ensure that the tourism sector remains a driving force in Mississippi’s economy for decades to come.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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