BOONEVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) - Putting together a good event isn't just about what you can cook, it's about how you make people feel.
Hospitality is a growing industry, and more and more graduates are flocking to the field each year.
Kandace Dowden-Gladney is a culinary student at Northeast Mississippi Community College (NEMCC) but said working closely with the hospitality program gives her a chance to round out her service skills before she officially enters the food industry.
"I actually learned how to interact with people,” she said. “I actually learned how to carry on a conversation.”
Using real-life situations is a unique part of the learning curriculum.
"The students say they really liked the catering because that is where they learn the most,” Instructor Ginger Cramer said. “It puts them in real-life situations."
NEMCC’s culinary arts and hospitality programs are both two-year degrees that work closely to prepare students for the lucrative field of service.
Christy Grissom is an instructor with the hospitality program.
"Customer service, human resources, supervision,” she said. “We delve a little bit into the hotel industry, but a big aspect is food service."
Grissom said it takes far more than people realize to provide guests with a memorable experience.
"Customer service is something that is lacking in many, many businesses, unfortunately," Grissom said.
She designs her programs to push students like Dowden-Gladney to reach her dreams and leave plenty of people smiling along the way.
Grissom said some students go on to a four-year university to earn a bachelor’s degree in hospitality. But you don't need one to start off with a lucrative salary in the field.