Byline: Jamie Sotonoff Daily Herald Staff Writer
Roosevelt University and Schaumburg Township High School District 211 are working together to make students more hospitable toward the idea of working in the state's burgeoning tourism industry.
Roosevelt University will introduce a pilot program at Hoffman Estates High School in fall 2000 that will allow students to earn high school and college credit simultaneously by taking "Introduction to Tourism" and "The Social and Economic Impact of Tourism" classes as electives.
"We're breaking new ground," said Gerald Bober, director of Roosevelt's School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. "We're trying to do something really innovative."
Roosevelt's intent is to generate students' interest in the state's booming hospitality industry. It is also part of the school's effort to recruit the area's "traditional-aged" students.
The classes would help train students for jobs like hotel and restaurant managers, banquet planners and trade show organizers.
There is a desperate shortage of trained workers for these jobs, according to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs' Bureau of Tourism, which is administering the one-of-a-kind $250,000 grant to Roosevelt to pay for the program.
Donna Shaw, deputy director of DCCA's Bureau of Tourism, said Illinois' aggressive marketing campaign has boosted tourism in the state and multiplied the number of jobs.
"Tourism will be the number one employer in Illinois by the millennium," Shaw said. "We are bringing more people to our state (than) in our entire history. We are breaking all records for tourism."
In 1997, Shaw said 76.3 million people visited Illinois, and 266,000 people worked in the tourism field.
Roosevelt's tourism classes would count toward the total credits needed for high school graduation, and would also earn students three college credit hours that they can apply toward Roosevelt's School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Students who want to transfer the credits to a different college or university would have to pay Roosevelt roughly $900 in tuition for each class, university officials said. …