UMass hospitality seniors hopeful they’ll get jobs

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – College Seniors will be graduating in just two months. Employes are ready for them.

“We’re in the same general shape as the rest of the country in the sense it’s in fits and starts,” said Jamie Strobino, a partner at Not Your Average Joe’s restaurants.

The unemployment rate is still higher than it was before the recession, but you wouldn’t know it here. UMass Amherst was bustling with dozens of companies hoping to hire graduating hospitality students.

“We’ve actually found there’s been a dynamic shift in how employers are hiring people onto their teams. People are bringing on more contract laborers since they’re not going to be responsible for any benefits, overhead taxes, paid time off,” said Kerry Owen, a sales manager at Insight Global’s Boston office.

The hospitality industry relies heavily on the economy: when people are struggling financially, they tend to not take vacations or go out to eat.

“I do think people won’t be spending as much money on vacations and such but I do think it’s such a rising industry and there’s always a need for customers service and people who want to work with people,” said Dianna Berry, a Junior at UMass Amherst.

With the economy slowly improving, companies said they’re able to offer more students jobs. Hospitality seniors told 22News they’re confident they’ll have a job by graduation.

“I think in hospitality it’s actually pretty great opportunities coming out. The market’s building up and there are a lot of great opportunities for seniors,” Arielle Catania, a senior at UMass, told 22News.

“The Department of Labor actually reported that hospitality industry. Their employment percentage is going up, so i think it’s a growing industry and they’re looking to hire students,” said Alissa Mendelsohn, the Student Marketing chairwoman.

It was an encouraging day for seniors to know that the time and money spent on an education will result in their dream career. Underclassmen were also there, hoping they could get a head start in a competitive field by getting an internship with one of the companies.