It began as small conversations regarding the possibility of Western Carolina University establishing an internship program with High Hampton resort in Cashiers.
Little did Kenny Jordan, assistant professor of hospitality and tourism in WCU’s College of Business, know the magnitude of what those discussions would result in – a partnership establishing the High Hampton Educational Assistance Plan.
Through the plan, High Hampton is looking to employ up to 50 students from both WCU and Southwestern Community College for a variety of positions paying between $12 and $15 per hour. Students working a minimum of 800 hours during a calendar year in which they were enrolled in school will be reimbursed up to $2,650 per semester, and no more than $5,250 in a calendar year for qualified educational expenses, including tuition, fees and books.
Those working a minimum of 500 hours during a calendar year while enrolled will be reimbursed up to $1,312.50 per semester, and no more than $2,625 a calendar year for qualified educational expenses, including tuition, fees and books.
“This program is a great example of the partnerships our faculty forge with businesses and community organizations across Western North Carolina,” WCU Provost Richard Starnes said. “It has important and tangible benefits for both our students and High Hampton resort.”
High Hampton also is providing free shuttle service from WCU and SCC to its property. Currently, more than 30 students have taken advantage of the program, which could reach a maximum payout of $250,000 to students.
Employment is open to students of all majors. Participants in the plan must achieve a “B” or better grade point average, or a “pass” grade for classes that are on a pass/fail scale.
“The goal of the program is to provide all of our students on campus with the opportunity to work and gain employment experience,” Jordan said.
Jordan said they also are working closely with WCU’s Center for Career and Professional Development to promote the reimbursement plan and help prepare students for the interview process.
The partnership was a natural fit, said Scott Greene, High Hampton general manager. “The reputation for quality education, its relationships with their students, and the school’s location really made Western Carolina University the perfect partner for High Hampton,” he said. “Together, we will help create meaningful career movement for students, while providing support for their educational journey.
“We both saw the benefits of helping students find both year-round and seasonal employment that could provide flexibility to accommodate schedules. For High Hampton, we also knew we would be attracting quality candidates to the program that had ambition for success and growth. WCU has a notable hospitality and tourism school, so naturally the fit was really perfect.”
High Hampton is a renowned luxury resort located in scenic Cashiers. Its property includes an inn, a private lake, restaurants, a spa, an 18-hole golf course and tennis courts.
For more information about the High Hampton Educational Assistance Plan, contact Jordan at email@example.com, or Theresa Cruz Paul, director of the Center for Career and Professional Development at 828-227-7133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.