Workforce Development

Hospitality Careers Academy

High school students interested in the hospitality industry are encouraged to apply for the 2017 Hospitality Careers Academy.
The week-long academy is held in July and hosted by The Classic Center in downtown Athens and The Ritz-Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Georgia. The program, which began in 2003, is designed for students interested in business, marketing, culinary arts, hotel/lodging management or event planning.

About the Program

The students selected for the Academy will have the opportunity to listen to guest speakers, job shadow professionals, attend industry tours and take part in leadership activities. All of this is done while working towards a culminating event project which the students plan and manage.

Application Process

The Academy requires acceptance through a competitive application process that includes a completed application, an essay question, 3 recommendations and a personal interview.

Academy Dates

A tentative date for 2017 has not been selected yet for the Hospitality Careers Academy, but exact dates will not be finalized until later in the spring semester.


The Academy’s $450 registration fee includes 4 nights of hotel accommodations, meals for the week and training from industry professionals.

Note: The deadline to apply has not been set yet.

Application & Contact Us

Download the Hospitality Careers Academy Student Application (PDF). For questions, please contact Beth Turner at 706-357-4521 or email.

HCA Testimonials

Patty Dennison

Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY
“HCA had a very big impact on me because in that week, they immersed me in the hospitality industry. Without HCA I would have never realized my love of the Hospitality Industry.”
Charleston Mumphery
Auburn University
“During the summer before my senior year of high school, I was blessed with the opportunity of participating in The Hospitality Careers Academy. I didn't know what to expect going into HCA, but it quickly became a week of hard work, networking, and fun. HCA challenged me in ways that I didn't think were possible: working outside of my marketing realm, making new friends with those around me, and even working effectively with little sleep. I ventured into careers I would have never thought about before through HCA, and looking back, it was one of the best experiences I've had in my life. I would challenge everyone with the opportunity to apply. The experience and connections that can be gained from joining the HCA family is invaluable, and again, I would recommend anyone with the opportunity to take advantage.”
Jennifer Golden
University of Georgia
“The biggest impact of HCA for me was the feeling you get after you successfully design, plan, and execute the event that you work on all week long with your fellow teammates. Another big impact HCA had for me was the bond that our team formed and how well we worked together.”
Nick Royal
College of Charleston
“HCA helped me get started on my hospitality career. The information I retained placed me ahead of fellow students. HCA is the closest experience to real life work that a high school student can acquire.”
Jordan Makin
Georgia Gwinnett College
“The Hospitality Careers academy was more than just a program but a family, a team of people who understood the hard work and determination needed to succeed in the hospitality industry. I was blessed to learn that just because you start off with a struggle doesn't mean you will end that way. It’s all worth it in the end; from the beautiful people you meet, to the family you become.”
Paxton McCullough
Monsignor Donovan High School
“It really changed how I thought about my future. I was so lucky to learn from different people during the week that truly enjoy what they do. Their passion and dedication inspired me to get out of my comfort zone.”
Zariyah Williamson
Arabia Mountain High School
“I was able to be a part of the Hospitality Careers Academy in the summer of 2014. It was a great experience; although the eight of us came in not knowing anyone, we connected quickly and became very close. In the beginning of the week we put together our plan for our big event on the last day of The Academy. Our event had a great outcome; our hard work was apparent throughout the entire event. I enjoyed this experience and if I could have the chance to do it again I would! Thank you HCA for allowing me to have this opportunity.”
Madison Howard
Georgia State University
“HCA has solidified my love for the hospitality industry. When I went to this camp, I had no idea what to expect but I met so many people that shared their love for the industry that I just knew event planning was the job for me!”