Restaurants and hotels going after local college students to fill positions

Nation and World News

CHARLOTTE (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — Inside the beverage lab at Johnson & Wales University, students sipped, savored, and studied various wines.

“These obviously are Austrian, which are very similar to the ones you tried on Monday,” associate professor Sarah Malik told her students.

Many of them are pursuing careers in hospitality or culinary arts, and they’re feeling pretty confident about their job prospects.

“There’s a lot more opportunities than I thought there were when I first got here,” said senior student Kya Bryant.

The law of supply and demand is starting to trickle down into colleges and universities.

“JWU has a really great reputation with the city of Charlotte,” Bryant told FOX 46, “so a lot of companies, a lot of restaurants, vendors come here looking for students and they’ll message us on our JWU link and let us know they’re looking to hire.”

The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association estimates there are currently 40,000 jobs available at hotels and restaurants statewide.

“It’s really exciting because there’s a lot more opportunities especially in the hotel industry now,” said senior student Jacqueline Gomez.

Associate Professor Sarah Malik says she’s getting inundated with inquiries from Charlotte-area businesses that want to hire her students.

“Yes. A lot,” said associate professor Sarah Malik. “We get emails all the time,” she continued, “I think every single restaurant, hotel, retail have come after our students.”

Now, it’s changing the landscape. Students are able to be more selective. They’re looking for health insurance, a 401K, and better pay.

“The pay that the students used to get, obviously, isn’t really suitable anymore,” Malik said. “They can demand $20 an hour. Maybe a couple of years ago, it’d be $10 an hour in the same organization.”

Malik says 60-70 different companies came to the job fair the university had a few weeks ago. One student said the need for hospitality workers has eliminated the stress of getting a job after graduation.

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