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Would you like a virtual experience with that?

October 28, 2021

Photo of student looking at hotel photos through VR

Hospitality Program Earns Grant to Boost Technology in Learning

Imagine being able to experience workplace dynamics, tools and impressive ways to immediately contribute to a team prior to taking a new position.

JHBC students can turn that imagination into a reality!  Thanks to an $18,000 grant, the program will soon incorporate virtual reality experiences that teach professional hospitality competencies in courses like restaurant management and hospitality & tourism management. Such experiences also build confidence, increase individual marketability and create a sense of community.

“The idea is to address the shortfall of technology in hospitality education.” Hospitality Director and Professor Joseph Tormey says. “In a virtual reality experience, you can feel the intensity of a position and have a better understanding of what interactions employees go through. It’s an immersive experience and proven to improve learning.” 

From large scale kitchen operations and layouts of golf resort or hotel properties to seeing how to transform customer experiences through technology, the experiential possibilities are endless. VR will also be used in the new Palm Desert iHub makerspace and collaborative space, as well as in Palm Desert Campus Business Club activities and for introducing high schoolers to opportunities in hospitality, one of Coachella Valley’s leading industries. 

Tormey is also excited to have current students generate original content on a 360 camera. For instance, he plans to have them capture footage of global travel and tourism, and hotel operations during a spring break education abroad program.  Newer students would then be able to travel to a destination virtually before embarking on the actual physical trip.

Tourism and hospitality accounts for about 10 percent of the world’s GDP and generates one in 10 jobs. The JHBC hospitality management program, which launched at the Palm Desert campus in fall 2020, is currently offered as a major concentration, minor and certificate. In addition to the virtual reality experience, the program has included social events and activities, trade show opportunities in different states, study and internships abroad, peer mentoring, community engagement projects and professional development training.