Trailblazers of Tomorrow in “What’s Cool at School”


This summer 20 Clark County School District high school students participated in the second year of the Young Executive Scholars Hospitality and Tourism Program (YES).

The program is hosted by UNLV’s International Gaming Institute (IGI) and Core, providing these high school students the opportunity to experience the Las Vegas tourism and hospitality industries – essentially learning how a resort is run – through a four-week, five-day-a-week immersive academic real-world experience.

As Executive Director of the International Gaming Institute Bo Bernhard said, “By humanizing this – by bringing their backyard to them, and bringing them to their backyard – hopefully we’re showing them all that’s possible.”

Students learned in the classroom and on site from Las Vegas leaders, Cirque du Soleil, the Vegas Golden Knights, Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, and Rogue (musician Steve Aoki’s professional esports team).

The rigorous four-week program covered many aspects of working at a resort property – including entertainment, food and beverage, retail, esports, conventions and conferences, and other operational aspects including finance, communications, marketing, architecture, corporate social responsibility, and more.

In addition to learning from professionals, the 20 students were also competing to build their own dream resort, and of the 20 students participating and presenting….the four with the best plan for their resort, presented at the end of the program, will each receive 10,000 dollar scholarships!

One of the participating students, Marcus Beldano, a West Prep Senior, told me about his project: “Out of the 40 million that come each year….6-8 million actually are Hispanic descent or speak Spanish so I took general inspiration from the temples in Aztec culture in Mexico City….and I would design my dream casino to be one of those temples.”

Industry leaders consider this a dynamic business, and a strong and steady pipeline of homegrown talent will lead to the trailblazers of tomorrow!

As Eileen Moore, Regional President of the Flamingo Las Vegas said, “It’s just so special to be able to give back to local kids that will be in the community.”

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