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New hospitality institute to have work-like setting.

New hospitality institute to have work-like setting

Work has begun on Sault College's $3- million Northern Tourism Hospitality Institute.

Gary Monteith, dean of the school of business and hospitality, said he is excited about the new facility.

Work began in early April with the tearing down of an old greenhouse to make way for the new building. The target for completion is October or November of this year.

"I would anticipate we'd be in there by January of 1991," Monteith said.

The new facility will be able to accomodate about 300 students.

It will attempt to recreate the environment of a hotel with an area resembling a lobby, complete with the appropriate decor and a front desk. There will also be a banquet and conference room, and a suite used for housekeeping training, a dining room and kitchen labs, along with classrooms and faculty offices.

Monteith said the hospitality institute in Montreal was the model for the Sault College facility. "They have the same concept."

The hospitality institute at George Brown College was also examined, although it doesn't simulate the hotel environment.

"We've tried to take the best ideas from both of those institutes," said Monteith. "What we're going to try to do is make this a well-known international school."

The Ministry of Colleges and Universities is contributing $2 million to the project. The Ministry of Tourism and Recreation and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines are each coming up with $500,000.

The complex will house existing programs, including a two-year hotel and restaurant management program, a one-year chef training program, a cook apprenticeship program and a food and beverage management program.

Monteith noted that a hospitality program has been part of the college almost from its beginnings in the mid-1960s.

However, the existing facilities are just unable to offer the programs needed in the hospitality area, he said.

Currently, the school has five faculty members and one technician, plus part-time instructors as needed. There are currently 50 to 60 hospitality students at Sault College.

"We expect that number to increase significantly," Monteith said.

The number of students peaked at about 100 between 1981 and '86. At that time the school had six full-time and several part-time staff members.

"At that time, we were far too big for the facilities we had," said Monteith.

The program acquired additional space by taking over an area of the forestry department and extending the school day, he said. "Even then our labs were overcrowded."

As a result, the college stopped marketing its hospitality programs.

However, the hospitality industry has recognized it is having difficulty attracting employees, particularly because it has a poor image as an employer.

Monteith believes the image is caused by a lack of training. The industry has also received a bad reputation for offering low wages, long hours and little opportunity for advancement, he said.

However, Monteith thinks the industry offers tremendous opportunity for people with a little self-esteem, self-confidence and ability.

He admits the industry is not attractive to prospective employees at present, noting there is continuous advertising in newspapers for employees for operations such as fly-in fishing camps and lodges all across the country. Some companies even recruit in the high-unemployment Maritimes.

There is also a real demand to train people who are already in the industry, which the institute will attempt to meet with short seminars.

Sault College has long been recognized for its certificate and diploma programs in chef training, food and beverage management, hotel and restaurant management and, more recently, for tourism marketing management.

New programs have been created to take advantage of the opportunity to share facilities and faculty with Lake Superior State University in Sault, Mich. The university recently received approval to offer a business management/hospitality degree.

Students registering for the hotel/restaurant management option of the degree program will take the business and general education component at LSSU and the practical hotel and restaurant management courses at Sault College.

Graduates of Sault College's two-year hotel and restaurant diploma program will be given full credit at LSSU. They then can complete the degree program in business administration/hospitality in two or three years.

PHOTO : Chef training, post-secondary and apprenticeship programs offered by Sault College will be

PHOTO : among the courses moving to the Northern Tourism Hospitality Institute now under

PHOTO : construction.

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Title Annotation:Focus on Sault Ste. Marie; Sault College Northern Tourism Hospitality Institute
Author:Bickford, Paul
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:May 1, 1990
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