With OSU-Cascades’ expansion underway,the university is also taking the next step and adding a hospitality major to its curriculum.
The last time Oregon State University-Cascades had a four-year hospitality program was in the 1990s. Since that time, Central Oregon has experienced a $10 billion growth in its tourism sector, according to the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.
“We’re losing too much of our talent,” said Todd Montgomery, who was tasked by OSU-cascades to design the curriculum expected to start in the fall.
Upon graduating with a degree in hospitality, Montgomery had the opportunity to work in six different countries and manage high-end hotels, which is experience he hopes to infuse within the program.
“Students will learn about today’s market. [They will learn] what works and what doesn’t,” said Montgomery.
Aside from learning about what it takes to efficiently run a business, Montgomery will put an emphasis on sustainable design, ecotourism and partnering with the culinary department at Central Oregon Community College.
“Central Oregon offers diversity, so we’re working with the culinary department in order to expand the types of classes that will be offered,” Montgomery said.
Tim O’Shea, who is the Managing Director of Sunriver Resort, adds that having the program open at OSU-Cascades “will be nothing but an asset to community business in the area.”
Restarting the program at OSU-Cascades wasn’t easy. The school not only partnered with ORLA but together they fundraised over $320,000, which was needed for the program to start.
“People in the industry and around Oregon saw that when students left, to say Washington State to get their degree, typically they don’t come back,” said Montgomery.
When the program opens in the fall, students will also receive a minor in business, a curriculum that will be built alongside the hospitality degree, all to boost the local economy and keep the talented local students in the area.
Brayan Gonzalez | The Broadside