If you’re searching for a fun and rewarding career, look no further than tourism and hospitality in the four-season Pocono Mountains, where it’s the number one industry. There are endless opportunities for growth and advancement overtime, plus competitive wages. PTN checked in with a few local students, the next generation of hospitality leaders, who were recently awarded for their hard work.
Savannah Marinho is one of the smiling faces ready to greet you upon check-in at Great Wolf Lodge in Scotrun. “I really enjoy working at the front desk because it’s like the heart of the Lodge,” she explained.
She recently graduated from Pocono Mountain East High School and Monroe Career & Technical Institute. The hands-on experience at MCTI, plus her role at Great Wolf Lodge, solidified she’s pursuing the right career.
“My dream job is to be a manager in human resources, for either a Hilton or Great Wolf, because I really enjoy working with kids and families,” she added.
Savannah is one of eleven students who recently received scholarship funding, totaling nearly $11,000, through the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau. That’s a record number of recipients for the PMVB’s annual initiative, designed to support and encourage high school graduates and undergraduate students who are pursuing degrees in or related to hospitality and tourism.
While Savannah is getting ready to enter Northampton Community College, Melanie Padilla just graduated from its Hospitality Management Program.
“The hospitality industry is one that is never going anywhere, and I think the pandemic is a perfect example of that. The industry was hit hard during the pandemic and still managed to pull its ranks and get itself up. Everybody is going to want to go out to eat and travel at some point,” she said.
Melanie plans to continue her education while working the full-time dream job she landed at a local summer camp. She gained valuable training over the years at various resorts in the Poconos. “The most important thing to me is being able to meet new people and create experiences and memories for families coming from all over the place,” she added.
Josephine Milanzi also graduated from NCC. She moved from Malawi in Southeast Africa to the Poconos to pursue a degree in hospitality. Josephine currently works at Woodloch Pines Resort.
“It’s a wonderful experience because you get to work with people from all sorts of backgrounds, countries, and states. Welcoming them in is the greatest aspect that I love about working in the hospitality industry in the Poconos,” she said with a smile.
Josephine aspires to one day become the general manager of a large hotel or resort. She’s confident there are plenty of opportunities available for herself, and anyone else preparing to enter the workforce or make a career change. “Whatever major people have; they can apply it in the hospitality industry. Could be accounting, could be marketing,” she explained.
Take it from recent Jim Thorpe Area High School graduate Ella Farnell. She is interested in public relations and looks forward to seeing how she can apply her skills. “Everyone says I’m a people person. I love communicating, I love talking, I’m outgoing. I don’t really want to sit behind a desk and work in business all day,” she said.
Visit PoconoMountains.com/Jobs to browse dozens of full-time, part-time, and seasonal positions ranging from entry to executive level that are currently available throughout the Pocono Mountains.