Sweetwater High School is benefiting from a recent grant for $100,000 from local businessman Bob Payne, the principal owner of the Hanalei Hotel and San Diego Mission Valley Hilton Hotel.
The grant money will go toward Sweetwater’s work-study program, which was started in September 1999 to give students first-hand experience in the hospitality industry. Four students are working side by side with employees in five departments at the local hotels. They work for five weeks each in sales, catering, front desk, human resources and food and beverage.
Payne has also said students who participate in this work-study program will be eligible to receive full reimbursement for four years of undergraduate college education if they maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average at SDSU’s new Hospitality and Tourism Management degree program, created with a $1.1 million contribution from Payne.
“This idea had its roots in the fact that I went to Sweetwater High and now work in the hospitality industry. I just felt it was payback time,” Payne said.
The program is expected to grow as Payne’s other Mission Valley hotel, the Hilton, will begin participating in Sweetwater’s hospitality curriculum later this month.