Partnerships Strengthened at Food & Beverage Industry-Education Think Tank
UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management hosted the first Food & Beverage Industry-Education Think Tank on Friday, October 25, 2019. The event was co-sponsored by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) ProStart, the educational arm of the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Educational Foundation and Valencia College, a UCF Direct Connect partner, moving students forward from two-year degrees to UCF’s four-year degrees. More than 60 industry experts and educators gathered for the event on the campus in the heart of hospitality in Orlando, Florida. They met for six hours of idea-sharing, student engagement, and group think tank sessions, organized by Rosen College’s Interim Chair of the Department of Foodservice & Lodging Management, Cynthia Mejia, Ph.D.
Outcomes revealed a need for further synergy between the F&B industry, associations and educational stakeholders with a focus on industry specific recruitment practices that can benefit college-degree holders. More think tanks will be held in the future to further define how the industry-education partnership can be beneficial to both parties, creating a direct pipeline for the best and brightest students to pursue management careers in F&B, and come to the table with not only a degree, but also experience gained through well-positioned internship programs.
Industry participants of the Think Tank included representatives from major restaurant groups including Darden, Bonefish Grill and Red Lobster Seafood Company; from world-class theme parks including Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Citywalk; from F&B industry associations including the National Restaurant Association (NRA), the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA), the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and major hotel brands including Hilton, Marriott International and Rosen Hotels & Resorts.