Where Will Future Foodservice Leaders Come From? AHF Webinar Addresses One Impactful Approach

By Hillary Hutchins posted 06-24-2022 11:31


This month, AHF’s webinar focused on building relationships between healthcare and senior living facilities with educational providers, such as universities, colleges, and high schools, to build interest in the healthcare industry and to provide a pipeline for future foodservice leaders.  

Karen Byrd, assistant professor at Purdue University, Randy Sparrow, System Director for Food and Environmental Service at ProHealth Care, Inc., and SeAyra Dupree, Development Associate at Franciscan Health Foundation presented AHF’s June webinar titled: Hospitality & Healthcare: Creating Connections for the Future. Speakers provided insights into how one healthcare organization collaborated with a university to develop an internship program and foster a greater relationship with hospitality students and discussed how other healthcare and senior living organizations might implement something similar.

While not always the case, university hospitality management programs across the country are starting to see the connection between hospitality and healthcare and including industry specific curriculum in their academic programs. There are many ways to begin collaborating with secondary or higher educational partners. Karen Byrd stressed the importance of finding a champion among the faculty and establishing an ongoing relationship to foster collaboration. For instance, operators would be welcomed guest speakers in many courses or could serve as a case study for a class project.  

The foodservice industry’s job market is growing at a faster than average rate currently, and with many directors nearing retirement, it’s vital department heads and supervisors begin to think of ways to bring future talent in the door. Randy Sparrow saw developing an internship program as one way to address this issue. During this webinar, Randy provides attendees with tips on how organizations can get started in developing an internship program and how it has benefited his facilities. 

Finally, SeAyra Dupree provided the student’s perspective as a former intern and discussed what made this healthcare internship attractive and how it impacted her as a student and recent graduate starting out in the industry. She also touched on ways other organizations might connect with and attract future students to similar internship programs.

With real world insights, tips and recommendations, this webinar provides timely and relevant information of one approach to help bridge the gap between current and future foodservice leaders.

AHF members can watch a recording of this webinar, along with all our monthly webinars, on our Online Learning Center. Be on the lookout for our upcoming webinars, Coffee Talks and events on our website here.