There are some pretty cool college internships out there, but what may be the best on the planet is the one available to students in Texas Tech University’s Hospitality Management program. Each year a handful of enthusiastic college students ship out from the Lubbock campus to The Signature Lodge by Cheyenne Ridge Outfitters, in Pierre, South Dakota, where they gain invaluable experience working at one of the nation’s finest pheasant hunting lodges.
The Signature Lodge’s Operations Manager, Executive Chef and Texas Tech grad Sean Finley works with TTU Associate Professor Dr. Charlie Adams to place bright, energetic and eager-to-work students in a variety of positions. According to Finley: “We need exceptional kids, because this is an intense program and their contributions will factor into the extremely high-quality products and services for which The Signature Lodge is famous.”
Intense is right. In order to qualify for the fall shift, students must work at The Signature Lodge the preceding summer to serve corporate clients and other off-season groups. Then they return from September until mid-December, working an average of 17 hours a day seven days a week in jobs ranging from food service, bartending and housekeeping to food-plot management, running the 5 Stand setup, kennel maintenance and bird processing.
The benefit for interns is that the work they do and skills they learn seriously bolster their resumes. Not only that, but they also earn six credit hours, are provided free room and board, and are paid a monthly salary plus gratuities. The Signature Lodge profits from the arrangement as well. “These students are constantly amazing me with their intellect, work ethic and enthusiasm,” Finley said. “Not only are they performing to our high standard, but their presence adds a wonderful energy and vitality to the lodge atmosphere.”
The program currently is in its eighth year, and about 60 students have been through it. This fall there are eight interns at The Signature Lodge—all receiving a hands-on education in hospitality. It’s almost enough to make one want to return to college….