An emerging program at Conroe ISD is providing high school students with experiential learning opportunities in the hospitality and tourism fields.

Offered through the district’s Career and Technical Education Department, the new Hospitality and Tourism Practicum allows students to pursue their educational and careers goals through work and study at relevant local businesses. The practicum is now completing its first full year of availability to all district juniors and seniors, and is expected to more than double in size for the 2019-2020 session.

Through the practicum, students spend a 90-minute block at the end of every school day training under professionals in hospitality-related jobs. During the fall semester, participants are sent to The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands for two-week rotations in departments like human resources, accounting, hosting, communications and special events. In the spring semester, students move to The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center for similar three-week rotations with an added lodging component.

“The school day ‘internship’ really does blossom for them and allow them to meet so many people in the business world, in and out of the hospitality industry,” CTE Hospitality and Tourism Liaison Lindsay Bozman Callaway said in a telephone interview. “It’s a new way of thinking and I think it’s being embraced.”

Some current participants have already been offered paid internships through the program, and all have meaningful additions to their resumes. Bozman Callaway anticipates a larger crop of both new and returning students in next year’s class, with recurring members getting the opportunity to engage in longer, nine-week rotations in their specific areas of interest.

“There are not very many juniors and seniors across the board who have sat through interviews, who have resumes evaluated and analyzed,” Callaway said of the program. “They are going to leave more polished, more ready for the business world.”