At Tuesday’s Walton County Commission meeting, board members approved a measure to allow the Tourist Development Council to move forward with a new internship program.
The new program will allow high school and college students interested in the hospitality field to get some real life experience.
“It will be open to anyone who is an active student, and we are expecting a lot of locals as we know tourism is very strong in this area,” said Jon Ervin, Marketing Director for South Walton TDC. “With some of the local colleges having these programs, so we are expecting a lot of interest from those folks."
This isn't a new trend in Walton County either.
As primarily a tourist state, other organizations have implemented a similar internship program and have received great results.
"We've had internship programs for many years,” said Laurie Hobbs, Director of Public Relations at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. “Each year we have 20 to 25 interns and it is a mutuality beneficial program for everyone."
The program is still in the planning phase, but Ervin says he hopes it will start as early as Spring of 2014.
Even though most of these internships are unpaid, there is one big reward.
"Many of our interns have been so successful that many times we have had the opportunity to employ them after their education,” said Hobbs, “It really it is a win, win program with everyone involved."
Ervin has hopes students will be interested, and the program will get off on the right foot.
Ervin says all students will have to do is fill out an application, that the TDC is still working on to join the program.