A large number of students attended the HRIM Career Fair held at UD.

Careers and travel

HRIM Career Fair features keynote address on global travel

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3:30 p.m., March 18, 2013--A positive jobs forecast and a burgeoning industry mean it’s a good time to graduate from a hospitality program said Joe McInerney, president and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, and Phil Hickey, chair of the National Restaurant Association's board of directors, keynote speakers at the 21st annual Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management (HRIM) Career Fair at the University of Delaware.

Held earlier this month, the fair allowed 270 students from the University of Delaware and other area schools such as Delaware Technical Community College and Pennsylvania State University to network with representatives and seek employment from 51 companies including American Cruise Lines, Disney and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

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As the leader of a major business based in hotel and restaurant management, McInerney said now is the ideal time for students to be graduating from high quality HRIM departments like that at UD. 

“Worldwide tourism produces five percent of direct global GDP (gross domestic product) and one in 12 jobs,” McInerney said. “The nearly 255 million jobs in 2012 are forecasted to rise by two percent in 2013 to 261 million jobs and by 2022, travel and tourism is expected to support 328 million jobs. That's why for the foreseeable future demand for well-educated and trained staff in travel and tourism will exceed the available supply.”

McInerney said the national tourism industry is currently the third largest retail business, one of America’s largest employers and the nation’s largest services export industry, with direct and indirect expenditures supporting $1.3 trillion.

In addition to being part of a business that aids the economy, McInerney said the hospitality business is fluid enough to allow for endless job possibilities. He stated that someone in the hospitality business could easily move from city to city or cross disciplines, opening doors for those still settling on a career path.

“Some of you may be fortunate enough to know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life right here and right now,” McInerney said. “But I would bet that 90 percent of you aren't so sure. Or maybe you think you're sure, but let me tell you from experience, what you think you are sure of at the age of 21 or 25 isn't always so black and white by the time you reach 35, 45 or even 55.”

Hickey agreed with McInerney and dubbed the field the “industry of opportunity.” He continued by saying employment rates have significantly increased in the past 10 years and are projected to increase even more over time.

“Research shows that about half of all adults in this country have worked in food services at some point during their lives,” Hickey said. “In fact, the restaurant industry employs 13 million people -- that’s nearly 10 percent of the nation's workforce -- and we serve more than 130 million customers each day.”

Hickey said the hospitality industry needs individuals with quality leadership abilities and the opportunities for success are promising. 

Holden Silverman, a senior in finance, said he appreciated the career fair, the number of companies represented and the keynote speakers and applauded the department for supporting employment opportunities for students.

"I really would like to say again how impressed I was by the career fair,” Silverman said. “A variety of companies came out that I had no idea about and I loved listening about the vertical and horizontal growth in the industry and the job flexibility that comes with that. I think HRIM is doing a great job with guiding students on how they should move forward with their major."

Article by Rachel Taylor

Photos by Evan Krape

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