Ponderosa Hotel Management Services Embraces Yavapai College’s New Hotel Restaurant Management Program

By Margo Christensen, Ponderosa Hotel Management, Vice President, Marketing & Public Relations

The management team at Ponderosa Hotel Management is not new to the world of Hotel Restaurant Management Programs (HRM). Still, this August, the team is taking advantage of a new opportunity by participating in the HRM program at Yavapai College’s Prescott campus. The program launches August 19 and will not only bring a skilled labor pool to the region’s hotels, resorts, and restaurants but will also provide a new career path for local students.

Each member of the Ponderosa Hotel Management team has personal experience with HRM:

Margo Christensen, Vice President of Marketing & Public Relations, attended Northern Arizona University (NAU) in the mid-1980s, earning three years of HRM and ultimately finishing with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.

Holli Stack, Residence Inn General Manager/Vice President of Operations, graduated from NAU’s HRM program in 2001.

Alondra Flores, SpringHill Suites General Manager, is considering the new HRM program at the Prescott campus of Yavapai College which launches this fall.

And Katie Romo, Sales & Marketing Administrative Assistant, is currently taking online classes at Yavapai College and has previously taken HRM classes at the YC Sedona campus.  Her goal is to complete her bachelor’s degree using a combination of the new program in Prescott and through NAU.

So it’s only natural that SpringHill Suites and Residence Inn by Marriott in Prescott will be participating in Yavapai College’s HRM program on two levels:

First, the properties will receive interns to work onsite for 60 hours per semester in all aspects of hotel operations, food and beverage, and event planning.  Interns will shadow property managers and be required to develop a custom Operational Project completed by the end of the internship.

Second, the properties will offer current employees an opportunity to enter the program, and SpringHill Suites and Residence Inn will reimburse 50 percent of the registration fee for each class. Participating employees will be required to meet certain criteria: a specific number of years with the property, maintenance of a good GPA, and continuous enrollment with the program until completion.

“We are thrilled to partner with Yavapai College by supporting interns and providing students from our own team,” said Margo.

“I knew that my career would be in HRM after my first class at NAU,” said Holli. “Marriott International showed how committed they were to my success and assisted me during college with tuition reimbursement. This is my passion and what I was born to do.”

The hospitality and tourism industries are two fields where one can begin at entry level or management trainee and quickly rise to upper management and regional positions, commanding high salaries and excellent benefits. Yavapai College is giving out-going high school students and young people in the area a perfect opportunity and reason to stay in Prescott, begin working right away with an internship, and take classes that are current and applicable to the industry today.  The Ponderosa Hotel Management team applauds the college for bringing this to the Prescott campus, but even more so, partnering with the local hotel properties to ensure a mutually successful program.