Amusement park operator Cedar Fair has joined forces with Bowling Green State University to offer a degree in Resort and Attraction Management.
Bowling Green State University will run the degree while Cedar Fair will invest $15m-$25m to build a new classroom building and dormitories for 200 students. The park operator will also provide summer internships and guest lectures.
The complex, to be built in Sandusky, Ohio, will form part of Bowling Green’s Firelands branch campus.
Students will attend classes during the school year and work at a Cedar Fair park, such as Cedar Point, for two summers. The jobs will start at entry level but the students will have the opportunity to move up to lower management level.
Jason McClure, general manager at Cedar Point, told The Lima News: “Students sometimes want to skip those first steps but it’s important for future managers to have experience at all levels. We afford a quick opportunity for a young person to be able to supervise.”
He added that graduates might be hired at Cedar Point or other amusement parks in the Cedar Fair portfolio. The university is expecting to graduate approximately 100 students a year.
Rodney Rogers, president of Bowling Green Sate University, said that traditional hospitality management degrees don’t cover issues specific to amusement parks.
“In many ways, these general managers are running a small city,” said Rogers. “It’s almost more like a city manager than hospitality management.”
In addition to operating rides, amusement parks also need a security staff, food and beverage operations, hotels, retail and more.
Suggested courses for the degree include Management Information Systems for Resorts and Attractions, Legal Environment of the Hospitality Industry, and Operation Planning and Supply Chain Management for Resorts and Attractions.