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STLCC’s Event Planning Program Produces First Graduates
February 13, 2014
STLCC’s event planning’s first class includes, front row, from left, Deborah Logan, Stephanie Bennet, Michelle Cope, Hannah Nelson, Ashley Lauer, Feven Alemu, Margaret Mack and Erica McFerrin; and back row, from left, Demarco Burr, Jennie Drag, Michelle Henderson and Susan Luxem.
A new program in hospitality has produced St. Louis Community College’s first event planning graduates.
The event planning curriculum is part of Hospitality and Tourism Studies program offered at the Forest Park campus. Some students finished all 21 credit hours in three semesters, with eight receiving their certificates of specialization in December.
The students seek career opportunities in this vast and diverse field that includes administrative positions in event planning organizations, hotels, attractions, venues, country clubs, sporting arenas, casinos, experiential marketing, live events, mobile marketing, volunteerism and catering companies.
So far, five of eight December graduates have landed positions in the St. Louis area – working for a hotel, an upscale supplier of event décor, a florist, a not-for-profit planning a major event, and an internship with Soulard’s Mardi Gras Inc.
“They are in a position to use their newly acquired knowledge, either presently or in the near future. Meeting Professionals International has been forwarding other job leads for student consideration,” said Craig Mueller, associate professor.
This program, launched in August 2012, gives students an overview of the many sectors of the meeting and event planning industry. It also provides students with the foundational skills and knowledge to be able to work in an entry-level position. Mueller and Jeff Ivory, associate professor, created the program.
“The coursework is appropriately rigorous in order to be representative of the demands of industry,” Mueller said. “Meeting and event planning requires budgeting, organizational, time management, communication and promotional skills.”
Mueller and Ivory have had certified meeting professionals – with many years of experience in the field – teach the specific event planning classes.
Mueller said 21 new students are enrolled in Event Planning I. They will schedule Event Planning II for either summer or fall semesters.
As part of revamping the hospitality studies curriculum, the department has proposed a future associate degree in hospitality and tourism that will eventually feature four focus components: event planning, food and beverage management, hotel management, and travel and tourism.
According to the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, St. Louis hosts 21.4 million visitors each year, who spend $4.33 billion in the local economy on leisure, conventions, meetings and business travel. In addition, 80,000 St. Louis area residents are employed in the tourism industry, with $2.51 billion in earned wages generating $801 million in local, state and federal taxes. St. Louis travel and tourism ranks among the top 10 industries in St. Louis City and St. Louis County.