On Thursday, July 31, a group of 19 students from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, Universal Orlando Foundation Branch visited UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management to learn about career paths in hospitality and tourism, an industry that makes a $54 billion economic impact on Central Florida.

As part of its corporate social responsibility initiative, Discover Tourism, Visit Orlando partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida to educate students about the industry’s limitless possibilities. Students began the day at Visit Orlando’s corporate office where they learned about the overall impact of travel and tourism on Central Florida, Visit Orlando’s role as the official tourism association and the diverse career opportunities in the hospitality industry. Next, the students visited Rosen College to learn about hospitality management education and tour the campus. They ended the day by participating in a food demonstration activity with Chef Frank Coupland.

“Through educational programs such as this, we hope to generate interest in possible career paths in the travel and tourism industry,” said Kristin Rothbauer, community relations manager for Visit Orlando. “Visiting Rosen College helps stress the importance of staying in school and getting good grades. Many times, these youth will be the first in their family to attend a college or university.”

In addition to learning about professional and educational opportunities available in their own backyard, these experiences help students explore their own interests and discover how their passions can turn into rewarding careers.

“Each time our Club members participate in this program they learn something new about the world in which they live, as well as something different about themselves,” said Bryan Cobaris from the Universal Orlando Foundation Boys & Girls Club. “The Discover Tourism program not only effectively introduces the global impact of the hospitality industry, it encourages our members to know that there are career fields compatible with their dreams. That spark is something that you just can’t put a price on.”

Click here to view more photos from the Boys & Girls Club’s visit to Rosen College.

For more information about hospitality management education at Rosen College, please visit hospitality.ucf.edu.