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University System of Maryland Hagerstown

Representatives from area educational institutions meet with University System of Maryland (USMH) representatives to discuss HTM Program

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Representatives from area educational institutions meet with University System of Maryland (USMH) representatives to discuss HTM Program

HAGERSTOWN—Representatives of Hagerstown Community College (HCC), Frederick Community College (FCC), North Hagerstown High School, Washington County Technical High School and Washington County Public Schools joined faculty and staff from USMH and University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) recently to discuss articulation agreements and pathways for students as plans progress for the hospitality and tourism management (HTM) program to be offered at USMH by UMES beginning this fall.

Signed articulation agreements between the community colleges and UMES will allow for a seamless transfer for students by providing the most efficient path to complete their degrees in a timely manner. 

Dr. Ernest Boger, chair of the HTM program at UMES said, “I’m glad to see all levels of education represented. We’re promoting the pathway from high school to community college to us.” Dr. C. David Warner, vice president of academic affairs and students services at HCC, added, “We want to get options in line with UMES and we want to reach out to the high schools. Students can see while they’re in high school what pathways they can take.” 

James Aleshire, North High principal, asked about incorporating credits for International Baccaulaureate (IB) courses into the articulation. North High offers a career track in hospitality management and expects to graduate 46 students this spring who have received certifications in the program. The Washington County Technical High School also offers an opportunity for students to enter this career and educational path through its culinary arts program.

Boger told the group that UMES has a 100-percent job placement rate for graduates of the program, adding that current graduates are earning annual salaries in the mid-$40s with that number expected to grow to $50,000 in the next four years. Warner said, “The link to the job is an important piece for our students.” Boger added that students may have to be willing to move or travel for a job, but the jobs are out there. Tiffany Ahalt, hospitality center coordinator at USMH, said, “We have growing opportunities.  You do have to consider the regional approach. When looking at the next five to 10 years, tourism is going to be at the next level in our region.” Elizabeth DeRose, institute manager, hospitality, culinary and tourism at FCC, said that her program also has a 100-percent job placement rate and that market demand for qualified professionals far exceeds the supply. Boger added, “This program requires 1,000 hours of internships. Local businesses will benefit from that. While you’re there, there’s great experience to be gained and then you go to the world beyond.”

Scholarship opportunities were also discussed. In addition to scholarships offered by USMH, there are numerous industry-specific scholarships available for students in this program. Warner stated that “70-plus percent of our students is on some form of financial aid.” 

Dr. Kate Brown, dean of business and technology at UMES, concluded the meeting saying, “You guys are in the industry of fun. Find the joy!”

For information about applying to the HTM program, please contact Tiffany Ahalt at 240-522-7552 or tahalt@hagerstown.usmd.edu

USMH is a regional higher education center, located in downtown Hagerstown, where more than 20 academic programs are offered by six Maryland universities.