Hillsborough Community College's Hospitality & Restaurant Management program puts students to work

TAMPA, Fla. - Fred Jaeger, manager of the Hospitality and Restaurant Management at Hillsborough Community College describes the program as a hidden gem.

"Oh yes! Absolutely!" Jaeger told ABC Action News.

It's literally one of the best in the country among two-year colleges. Students at HCC are given real world experience from the gourmet dining room, to the kitchen and restaurant operations.

"I think that says an awful lot about the program," said student Nancy Summit.

Summit one of the students taking advantage. A major benefit for Summit, along with other students is the low cost of a two-year school.

Most are also awarded paid internships right away. Companies partnering with the college include the Westin hotel and Legends at Steinbrenner Field.

"I'm going to be starting my first internship this summer. So, that'll be my first time really in like a commercial kitchen," said Summit. "I feel like these internships for me are going to be critical in helping me kind of discover which pathway I want go with this."

Another major factor is job placement. One hundred percent of students in the program are hired.

In fact some students can't finish the program because they can't pass up that new job. Jaeger told ABC Action News that there are actually too many great paying possibilities and not enough trained students.

Students are working as dietitians, chefs and top level management.

"Obviously being here in Florida, especially in the Tampa Bay Area we have a tremendous amount of opportunity. We have it all here," said Jaeger.

For Summit this could be a major step towards a bold new career.

To learn more about the program click: www.hccfl.edu/dm/associate-in-science/hospitality-management.aspx

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