SANTA FE, NM – Santa Fe Community College Santa Fe Community College offers an Associate of Arts degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management (https://www.sfcc.edu/degrees-and-certificates/associate-arts-hospitality-tourism-management/) as well as a Certificate in Hospitality and Tourism (https://www.sfcc.edu/degrees-and-certificates/certificate-in-hospitality-and-tourism/.) The degree will give students the opportunity to transfer seamlessly into New Mexico State University, Eastern New Mexico State University, and Northern Arizona University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. Both Eastern NM and Northern Arizona offer online degrees as well so students can earn their degree here in Santa Fe.
Katherine Fox Ehlert, SFCC’s Hospitality Program Coordinator, and Transfer Adviser said “This is a very exciting opportunity, as jobs continue to grow in the tourism and hospitality industry. After state government, the hotel industry is the top employer in the city with over 9,000 jobs, 600 of which are in management. Tourism brings in $700 million dollars annually into Santa Fe.”
Nearly 100,000 jobs, generating over $2 billion in total annual income, are sustained by New Mexico's tourist industry. Salaries for management within hotels, tourism bureaus, destination management companies, tour companies and restaurants range from a starting salary of $35,000 to $150,000.00 for executive management.
Fox Ehlert, a New Mexico native, brings extensive experience in the hospitality and tourism business to her position at the college. She has managed and directed sales and marketing efforts of hotels across the country including the Hyatt Regency Dallas, Parker House in Boston, Sheratons in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and Red Lion in San Jose.
She spent her last six years in the hotel industry as the Senior Sales manager on the pre-opening team and the permanent sales team for the opening of the Hilton Santa Fe Golf Resort & Spa at Buffalo Thunder in Pojoaque. “I learned a lot from that experience. In the first year, most of the employees were hired from out of state. In that first year, they experienced an 80 percent turnover rate. They and all the local hotels have experienced great difficulty finding people from the area who had the proper education in the hotel and tourism industry. They are looking to employ people who have families here and have a love of New Mexico are committed to staying in the area. The new SFCC program will give New Mexicans the education needed for a career path in hotel and restaurant management, which will also lower the recruiting costs for Santa Fe hotels” Fox Ehlert said.
Fox Ehlert notes Santa Fe not only has the allure of being a top travel destination, but also as a focal point for meetings and conventions. She spent many years as a corporate meeting planner. The past five years she has been on the National Education Committee for Professional Conference Managers Association. PCMA represents 6500 meeting industry planners, hotels and universities throughout the globe.