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A-B Tech instructor sees great opportunities in local hospitality industry

March 25, 2014

Walter Rapetski recently sat on a panel at the Governor's Conference on Tourism.

A-B Tech Community College’s Walter Rapetski wants to dispel the myth that getting training and skills for careers in the hospitality industry leads to low-paying, dead-end jobs.

Rapetski, A-B Tech’s Hospitality Management Instructor, fields emails and phones calls every week from area employers looking for managers for their hotels and restaurants. His students usually receive job offers before they graduate for full-time, salaried positions with benefits.

“We get more salaried job offers than we can fill,” he said. “Over the past five years, graduates have been getting positions with salaries ranging from $34,000 to $65,000 because our students graduate with the skills the industry wants. 

Rapetski explains that the two-year degree in Hospitality Management is an intensive, hands-on, practical degree.

“Employers aren’t looking for students who spend four years in a classroom with just book knowledge. Here, they can gain experience in an actual working lodge and dining room on our campus,” he said.

Rapetski shared his message as a panelist at the recent Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Charlotte. The North Carolina Travel Industry Association held the session to discuss positive growth opportunities for the state’s overall employment outlook and highlighted the forecast that skilled workers will be in high demand and wages will increase as the market for labor becomes competitive.

“There is no reason why you can’t make $50,000 to $100,000 within five years after graduation. We are truly a jobs skills training program and our graduates are master craftsmen. Especially in this region, this is a growth market and these jobs can’t ever be outsourced,” Rapetski said.

Local employers come to A-B Tech first when looking for management and interns in their hotels and restaurants. The current class of Hospitality Management students graduating in May all have jobs waiting for them.

“Hospitality Management also is the largest employer of female minority managers. It’s a tremendous opportunity for anyone looking for a career,” Rapetski said.

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Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate degrees, diplomas and certificates.  Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.

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