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New hotel provides hands-on experience in HRTM field
August 27, 2019
Las Cruces’ newest hotel, The Courtyard by Marriott opened July 18 in collaboration with New Mexico State University.
The partnership with the hotel will not only provide revenue to NMSU, but internship and employment opportunities for students in the school of hotel, restaurant, tourism and management.
The Courtyard has already brought work-related experiences for HRTM students, Department Head Jean Hertzman said.
“Having a partner hotel for our students so close to campus really elevates our teaching quality,” Hertzman said.
A separate agreement between HRTM and The Courtyard provides NMSU students with jobs and internships, guest speakers for their courses, property tours and provide projects for students and the hotel to collaborate on.
The Courtyard also serves as a source for HRTM to complete credits for their degree. Hertzman said these students cannot graduate without completing 400 hours of internship.
“Having actual experience in the industry is essential for understanding it and getting the experience necessary to be successful in it,” Hertzman said.
The first students to begin working at The Courtyard were hired in June to prepare for the hotel’s opening.
The HRTM department is still working out details for a complete student internship, but students can currently work in areas such as housekeeping, front desk, serving and cooking at the establishment.
HRTM major Gabrielle Gonzales is one student who is employed at The Courtyard as a sales coordinator. Gonzales said she took the position to not only gain experience in the sales realm, but also to have an idea of what the work is like before she begins her career upon graduation.
“I think it is beyond beneficial to have hands-on experience especially in this industry. Working at the Courtyard I feel will not only prepare me but help to advance me for when I am ready to move on to bigger things,” Gonzales said.
Working at a new establishment compared to an aged one is a different experience, according to Gonzales.
“Sales itself in the hotel industry is very, very fast paced. Being a part of a brand-new property compared to a property that is already established is a whole new ball game,” Gonzales said.
In addition to providing working experience, the lease between NMSU and The Courtyard also guarantees revenue to be provided to NMSU due to the university leasing the hotel its land, Hertzman said.
“The lease agreement with NMSU says that NMSU will receive $80,000 per year or a percentage of revenues, whichever is higher,” Hertzman said.
Though working with The Courtyard may seem to be exclusive to HRTM majors, Hertzman said that all students and alumni who are experienced in hospitality and guest service are encouraged to apply for positions.
Hertzman added that student and faculty feedback about The Courtyard has been positive and students have been grateful for the collaboration.
“The students really appreciate learning first-hand from them,” Hertzman said. “It shows them that the theory they learn in classes truly applies to the jobs.”
The partnership was signed into place in March 2016 and broke ground on the project in October 2017.