Before You Apply
The Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy (OTLA) is a comprehensive program that will require a commitment of time from participants. Before applying for the OTLA, prospective program participants should review the following information pertinent to the application process.
Structure and Costs of OTLA
The Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy is a program which will take place annually for 20 individuals actively working in the Oregon tourism and hospitality industry. Each class will include participation from both private and public sector industry professionals working in tourism regions across the state. The class is designed for professionals performing duties in supervisory, managerial, and executive roles or those who have been identified for development to occupy a role of similar responsibility in the future. Program participants must confirm their availability to participate in 4 multi-day experiences taking place during all 4 seasons of the year. Starting locations where program participants meet will vary for each experience. Each multi-day experience is broken down across 3 workdays. Day 1 will typically start on a Wednesday around 1pm and will typically conclude by 11:30am on Fridays to provide program participants time for travel to our starting location and the return home.
Academy registration for program participants is $2,500 and covers all program experiences including transportation and meal costs across the 4 multi-day experiences over the course of the program year (12 days total). Travel and lodging costs (approximately $200 per night) are not included in academy registration cost and are the obligation of the participant and/or employer. The structure of the program will require participants to coordinate their lodging plans for a total of 8 nights across the full year program. Academy staff will coordinate room block rates for interested program participants but hotel stays within the room block are not required.
Benefits of OTLA Participation:
Required 2021 Attendance Dates (starting at 1pm Wednesday, ending at 11:30am Friday):
Additional Structural Components:
Self-Assessments, Required Reading, and Prepared Mock Testimony
In addition to active participation in all 4 multi-day experiences, program participants will be required to participate in a self-assessment in preparation for their first multi-day gathering. The self-assessment is designed to provide helpful guidance to each program participant and their peers participating in the academy. Instructions and guidance on the completion of the self-assessment will be sent to program participants prior to the first experience of the year. Interested applicants should plan to devote 3-5 hours to complete the self-assessment before the program commences.
Program participants will also be required to engage in required reading during the calendar year. Two leadership books will be chosen as part of the program experience during two of the gatherings.
Program participants will also be required to prepare mock testimony in front of designated elected leaders. Each program participant will be given options to research and will then be asked to prepare 3 minutes of testimony.
Criteria for Program Applicants
Two $1,250 scholarships are available to interested applicants each year of the program to assist in the $2,500 total academy registration cost. Those applying for scholarship consideration will be asked to complete a specific section of the application devoted to this purpose. Applicants pursuing one of the program’s two available scholarships should prepare to demonstrate financial need. Scholarships will be awarded in April of each year to accepted program participants and those recipients will be billed $1,250 for their remaining registration expenses. Scholarship awards will be kept confidential and will not be shared with others participating in the program.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I know if the Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy is right for me?
A: The academy program is designed for industry managers, supervisors, executives, and professionals identified by their employer with leadership potential within the industry. All interested professionals who work in either a private or public sector capacity in a business or organization that intersects with Oregon’s tourism industry are encouraged to apply.
Q: If I want to apply what do you think the total cost is to do the program?
A: We anticipate that on average, total program cost is approximately $4,100. The academy program participation costs $2,500 and we estimate an additional $1,600 should be budgeted for transportation/lodging stays for the 8 overnight stays incorporated in the program schedule. Depending on the hometown of the participant and the desired lodging accommodations, the total cost could be closer to $3,600.
Q: I’m not clear on what the $2,500 covers if accepted in the academy. What do I get for that investment?
A: Each multi-day experience begins after lunch in the middle of the week (typically a Wednesday) and concludes before lunch at the end of the workweek (typically a Friday). Meals, program materials, transportation, and all facilitated experiential learning components are fully covered within the program cost from the time the program starts after lunch on Day 1 until wrap up before lunch on Day 3.
Q: Is there a way to apply and get help with the costs of the program?
A: Each year, 2 scholarships will be available to applicants who communicate a need for financial assistance. Each scholarship will reduce the program cost by 50% or $1,250. Scholarship recipients will still be responsible for covering the remaining $1,250 academy program cost as well as their travel and accommodation expenses tied to program participation.
Q: Why does the program start after lunch on Day 1 and end before lunch on Day 3?
A: In order to keep the program accessible from a cost standpoint, the decision was made to save costs associated with meals at lunchtime on Day 1 and Day 3. Depending on each participant’s starting location, Day 1 will involve travel during the morning to arrive on site with other participants by 1pm. And Day 3 will involve afternoon travel back home. Participants will be encouraged to make their own lunch arrangements before Day 1 programming begins and after Day 3 programming ends. Day 3 afternoons are designated for travel time home for all participants.
Q: Investing 3 days each quarter in the academy experience seems like a significant amount of time away from work. How are 12 days away from work during the year going to benefit me and my employer?
A: Nothing like the Oregon Tourism Leadership Academy exists in Oregon and in order to accomplish our objectives in a meaningful way a serious investment of time is required. Creating professional development programming and coordinating expert speakers takes significant work behind the scenes but the end result will be to the benefit of each participant. We’re convinced the investment of time and money will provide lasting benefits for each individual and their employer. The depth of the programming and the relationships cultivated with peers participating in the program will build comradery and a resource network of statewide significance. Program benefits include:
Q: What chance do I have to be accepted into the program?
A: We expect the application process to be competitive and as a result encourage all applicants to invest the necessary time to fill out the application online in a thorough and thoughtful manner. The open-ended questions asked of each applicant when applying is an opportunity for each applicant to shine and distinguish themselves from others.
Q: How will the 20 people be selected for the program?
A: Grading criteria will be used to evaluate each application received and all applications will be reviewed by the OTLA Advisory Committee for consideration. There will be significant value in each class having participants from all regions of the state as well as from different cultural backgrounds. Our goal is to have a mix of public and private sector professionals who bring different types of expertise to the program. A mix of urban and rural representation will also be desired.
Q: What happens to my application if I’m not accepted?
A: All applicants will receive outreach once program participants are selected. If an application does not result in access to the program those individuals will be encouraged to apply again in the following year during the open application timeframe. Applications will not be saved from year to year as application questions may change from year to year.
Q: What happens if I am accepted?
A: All applicant communication will take place during the month of April. Next steps and instructions will be sent to all accepted applicants during that month. Program responsibilities begin in late Spring with required reading which will be shipped to each program participant as well as self-assessment responsibilities. Academy participants will be encouraged to read through the first half of their required reading book leading up to the Summer experience in the Columbia Gorge. All Self-Assessment work will need to be completed before program participants gather for the first time in Summer.
Q: What happens if I can’t make one of the 4 multi-day experiences that are a part of the program?
A: All prospective program participants must block out all applicable program days on their personal and professional calendars. In the case of an emergency, participants may be excused for part or all of one of the four multi-day experiences. If more than one full multi-day experience is missed, the participant will not be afforded the option of continuing the program.
Q: How do I get billed if I am accepted into the program?
A: The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association will send out a $2,500 invoice for each program participant. Invoices will be sent out in April and will be due no later than the end of May. If payment is not received in full by the end of May, the program participant will forfeit their spot in the program to another applicant to fill up the 20-person class.
Q: What happens if I pay for the academy and then need to back out of the program?
A: All invoice payments are final, and no refunds will be extended in situations which require a change in academy participation. Academy staff reserve the right to assess each situation on a case by case basis. As a rule, refunds of program cost should not be expected given up front costs associated with creating the program and coordinating all experiential learning opportunities.
Still have questions? Contact Marla McColly at 503.428.8694.
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