Exchange program a Sierra success |

Exchange program a Sierra success

Sierra-at-Tahoe began hiring exchange students a couple years ago, according to Heidi Hill-Drum, employee services manager. At first there were only a handful who would come from Australia.

“There were not large numbers, but they were always excellent employees and they added diversity to our staff,” Hill-Drum said.

Then a nonprofit organization called Bunac began working with the exchange program in the area, advertising heavily for the exchange in Australia and New Zealand.

“This year we got more applications than we ever had before,” Hill-Drum said. She said the resort accepted 80 applications and 59 workers from Australia and New Zealand showed up.

“It was just amazing,” Hill-Drum said.

Sierra plans to continue the program this year, but will offer the exchange students more skilled positions next year.

“We’re finding out often times they are qualified for such positions as office work,” Hill-Drum said.

The exchange students arrived in late November and most will be here until the seasons change and school begins in March.

Hill-Drum said many students plan to leave the ski resort early and do some traveling before returning to the Southern Hemisphere.

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