Five Reasons to Apply for Hospitality Careers Academy text over students smiling

It’s almost that time of year again! Applications for The Classic Center’s Hospitality Careers Academy are due February 28, 2024, by 5:00 p.m. This year’s camp will take place June 23-27, 2024, at The Classic Center. Spots are competitive, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to work on your application. Now, if you’re a student, and you’re wondering why you should give up a week of your summer break, then this blog is for you! Here are five reasons you don't want to miss this insanely fun, unique, and useful experience.

It gives students hands-on, real-world experience.

Hospitality Careers Academy is a uniquely immersive experience. Instead of a hypothetical glance into the hospitality and tourism field, you get to roll up your sleeves and execute a real event yourself, under the guidance of a mentor. The event planned by students throughout the week is The Classic Center Cultural Foundation’s annual Celebration of the Arts. Hosted for over 200 members, this event is a true culmination of all of the work that the Cultural Foundation and The Classic Center do to support the arts and workforce development in the community. The event features performances by local scholarship winners and a theme based on that year’s upcoming Broadway Entertainment Series.

Not only do students learn hands-on event planning techniques, but they also learn professional skills that are transferable to any future job in any field. Working with a real client, receiving and applying feedback, and working collaboratively with other departments will benefit you no matter where you end up. To help bring all of these workforce development aspects together and make sure students know how to represent these skills to the best of their abilities, The Classic Center HR team also takes HCA participants through a series of mock job interviews.

It’s a resume-booster.

As high school students are gearing up to apply for college or technical school, any and all extracurricular activities are helpful on a resume, but HCA is guaranteed to make you stand out. Not only do students learn about a career field, but they also get to experience it. It’s a competitive world out there – we can help you stand out!

pictures of students smiling, working in a kitchen, and looking at a computer

It’s like multiple internships at once.

The five days you attend HCA will be jam-packed with learning and fun. After some bonding and team-building activities on the first day, students get to choose the role they want to fill for the week, with options including Banquet Manager, Marketing Manager, Event Planner, General Manager, Technical Director, and Culinary. Students get to learn how collaborative planning an event can be and work with their mentors and each other to plan the theme, menu, décor, signage, layout, and technical production of the event. Do you think you’re interested in a career in marketing but aren’t sure how that applies after college? This is a great way to find out! Do you love cooking shows and think you want to work in a state-of-the-art kitchen but don’t want to apply for culinary school until you’ve tried it for yourself? We’ve got you!

As HCA alumni Jackson (Sous Chef), said, “None of them [The Classic Center staff] make us feel like kids. They treat us like coworkers, and I think that’s really what makes this place so great.” HCA is truly unique in that it’s as fun as a summer camp and as helpful as an internship, making it the perfect way to spend the week.  

It’s a great opportunity to network.

In between planning for the event itself, students take a deep dive into many aspects of the hospitality industry so that each student gets a glimpse of the hospitality industry as a whole. Students will get to listen to and interact with guest speakers in the hospitality and tourism fields, including speakers from Chick-fil-A and Levy, The Classic Center’s in-house catering partner, and participate in job shadowing and industry tours. Students have even been known to be offered jobs coming out of HCA contingent on them finishing their chosen post-high school education!


It’s fun!

Planning an event in a week is a whirlwind, but HCA alumni all say the same thing – they wouldn’t change it for the world. Making lifelong friends, eating at some of the most popular restaurants in Athens, and staying at the top-notch Hyatt Place Hotel for the week are just a few of the things past students have raved about beyond the thrill of planning and managing the event itself. Some of the exciting past themes for Celebration of the Arts have been the 1920’s, fully equipped with a retro car parked inside the building and a champagne fountain, and an airport in Chicago, featuring a take-off sequence for guests before the main event. What will next year’s theme be? Apply for HCA today to be on the team that gets to decide!


What are you waiting for? Apply today!

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