Lakeland, Osthoff partnership provides workforce solutions
The Osthoff Resort and Lakeland University have once again partnered this summer, the latest chapter in a long-standing relationship that has provided opportunities for Lakeland students and the Elkhart Lake community.
In spring 2021, as the hospitality industry was starting to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic, many resorts and destinations were short-staffed. LU and the Osthoff Resort came together to develop an experience that would benefit all.
Lakeland students working part time for Osthoff Resort from May through this August are earning and learning. Osthoff Resort established funds to cover student’s housing expenses, while LU ensured transportation to/from work and a space where they could live with friends.
Nearly 20 Lakeland students are benefiting from working in the areas of water sports, dining, housekeeping, grounds, reservations and security. The students are also enrolled in Cooperative Education courses that focus on professional and soft skill development.
“I believe Lakeland University and the Osthoff Resort hold the same vision: The best asset is our people,” said Osthoff Director of Human Resources Dan Norton. “The partnership with Lakeland University has been a great asset. It gave us flexibility with our work force needs.
“The main benefit to the partnership was that our guests can see how energetic the students are and the guest service they can provide. In addition, we have been able to keep the students’ best interest as a key priority.”
Lakeland students are enjoying the opportunity for a variety of reasons.
Ethan Kiefer chose to work at the Osthoff Resort because he heard great things about them and wanted to live on campus this summer.
“I never really knew much about landscaping, but it has taught me a lot about how much the grounds mean to the guests and the owners,” Kiefer said. “It’s great to see a smile on their faces when they first walk into the resort.”
Kearstin Schweitzer previously worked for the Osthoff as a housekeeper and this summer she’s a barista, giving her an opportunity to also learn how to bartend. She appreciates the short commute and the flexible, accommodating approach by the Osthoff.
The program had such a positive impact that the partnership will extend into the fall and spring terms with various benefits. This will help students pay for college and give them a learning environment to help them be more successful.
“We are thankful to the Osthoff Resort team members who have continued to serve on the LU Co-Op Advisory Board to help innovate an educational experience that is rooted in work-based learning,” said Lakeland Associate Vice President of Cooperative Education & Career Readiness Jess Lambrecht.
Students interested in opportunities with the organization should apply via Handshake and meet with a Co-Op Team member by August 25.