Thousands Register for Certificate from FAU Hospitality Program


By paul owers | 4/8/2020

It started as a grassroots effort by Florida Atlantic University’s nationally ranked Hospitality and Tourism Management program, within FAU’s College of Business , to offer a free online certificate to workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. But word quickly spread and roughly 77,000 people worldwide signed up, underscoring the global reach of the industry and the sudden need for remote learning.

FAU’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program, ranked by The Best Schools as one of the top 30  hospitality programs in the United States, has offered the certificate for more than 10 years at a cost of $900 per participant, but FAU is waiving all fees to help workers weather this unprecedented period. The FAU faculty have abbreviated the existing certificate and created new content to give as many participants access as possible. Even though modified, there are more than 15 hours of useful videos, interviews and relevant information.

Participants who complete the five sessions in April will boost their resumes and stand out in what almost certainly will be a crowded job market once the crisis ends, according to Peter Ricci, Ed.D., director of FAU’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program.

“Employers will be looking for the cream of the crop, and they’ll have the ability to pick the best candidates,” Ricci said.

The five sessions include hospitality law, career competencies, marketing and revenue management, finance fundamentals and service excellence. Those are the key areas covered by hospitality and tourism students who pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration from FAU.

The certificate can benefit hourly associates, supervisors and executives who work in hotels, restaurants, cruise lines, casinos or for any service-oriented business.

More than 100 million hospitality and tourism workers worldwide have been laid off or had hours reduced as the pandemic spread across the globe. Continuing their education will keep them focused on something positive during a stressful and uncertain time, according to Ricci.

“The tone of the emails has been so, so gracious,” he said of the participants. “People said, ‘We’ve never had the time to do this.’ Well, now is the time.”

Sessions began April 9 and must be completed by April 30, though the coursework will be recorded for viewing at any time during that period. Attendance and progress will be measured by short quizzes after each session.

FAU is offering a second certificate in May to accommodate thousands of students who signed up in early April. Registration for the May sessions has closed. 

FAU’s College of Business and its Executive Education programs recently were ranked No. 1 in Florida by Financial Times .