The Ritz-Carlton Naples Experience
Courtney Baron '13 and Claire Maddocks '13 worked full-time at the Ritz Carlton Resort in Naples, Florida while also participating in weekly management seminars held on Widener's Main Campus.
The Cooperative Education Program in the School of Hospitality Management is an integration of classroom learning and study-related employment. The guiding principle of co-op is to provide ultimate learning opportunity and industry leadership readiness by integrating periods of work experiences, classroom study, reflection, and experimentation.
The School of Hospitality Management prepares our future industry leaders with a required cooperative education program. This capstone program is a built-in, 15-credit component of the four-year undergraduate curriculum.
All students must enroll in co-op as a part of the graduation requirement for the hospitality management program. Students enroll in the Cooperative Education Program as a second-semester junior or a first-semester senior.
Students in co-op work full-time hours for sixteen consecutive weeks during a semester. Each student must accumulate a minimum of 600 working hours to satisfy the co-op requirement. Students are also required to return to the classroom one day each week for a six-hour leadership development seminar.
Research, student comments, and employer reviews all indicate that co-op is a valuable experience for the student! Listed below are just some of the benefits that have been shared:
- Increases technical skills.
- Networking opportunities abound.
- Often provides post graduation career opportunities.
- Great resume builder.
- More marketable.
- Experience job advancement more quickly.
- Facilitates transition from school to career.
- Learn about all segments of the industry from student peers.
- Learn time management.
- Learn organizational skills.
- Gain a "taste of the real world."
- Learn the importance of professional clubs and associations.
- Learn the importance of customer service.
- Increases interpersonal skill development.
- Develop self-confidence.
- Develop problem-solving skills.
- Develop a sensitization for ethical concerns.
- Develop tolerance and respect for others.
- Develop critical thinking skills.
- Realize the need for good business communication skills.