Shape Our Future – Tourism Works

Program Overview

The West Virginia Department of Tourism is working closely with the West Virginia Department of Education and the West Virginia Community and Technical College System to prepare the next generation for rewarding careers in tourism through the Shape Our Future focus of Tourism Works.

Shape Our Future includes initiatives to provide tourism education to middle and high school students across the state, create a new and improved tourism curriculum that meets the industry’s current needs, establish career pathways for high school students to begin earning credit toward future degree or certificate programs, and create new degree and certificate programs with West Virginia’s institutions of higher learning.

Tourism Pathway Pilot Program

High school students who are interested in learning more about the newly established Tourism Pathway Pilot Program should talk with their guidance counselors to get started.

Working in Tourism is a Smart Move for West Virginians

Tourism in West Virginia is growing faster than ever before, bringing in nearly $5 billion in visitor spending last year and projecting 21,000 annual job openings, including 10,000 annual openings for management-level positions, with salaries approaching $60,000.

The tourism industry is known for its opportunities for rapid professional advancement – from entry-level jobs to highly skilled management-level roles. Jobs in tourism require superb customer service and problem-solving skills, also making the industry a strategic jumping-off point for professionals looking to gain access to related fields. The U.S. Travel Association reports that nearly a quarter of Americans’ first jobs were in travel, and the average annual salary of an American who got their start in the travel industry is $82,000.