Success Stories

Serving Up Success

David Coe

David Coe

Class of 2024

Area of Study
Hospitality Management
Favorite Aspect of Wake Tech
Affordable, caring college
Career Goals
Hospitality Manager

"Wake Tech gives you time to figure out what you want to do in life without a huge cost."

    — David Coe

For David Coe, it truly is his pleasure to work in the hospitality industry. And because of his stellar customer service and passion for his future career, he's Wake Tech’s 2022-23 Work-Based Learning Student of the Year.

"I like to make a difference and impact people's lives in a positive way,” the Hospitality Management student said. "I like making people laugh and bring them up when they are down, so that's why hospitality is right up my alley."

At Wake Tech, Work-Based Learning allows students to apply what they've learned in the classroom and work for an employer in a position directly related to their field of study for course credit. More than 175 Wake Tech students are participating in Work-Based Learning this Fall semester.

Coe completed his 320 hours of Work-Based Learning in just 10 weeks last summer at the Townridge Square Chick-fil-A on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh. He started out as a trainer and quickly progressed to a front of house manager, directing the restaurant's daily operations. He continues to work there while pursuing his Wake Tech degree.

"Work-Based Learning was a great and fun experience for me, and I'm grateful for the program," Coe said. "I'm so passionate about hospitality, and this experience gave me a sense of what my professional career in hospitality can look like. It helped me decide that hospitality is what I want to do with my life."

In addition to sharpening his hospitality skills on the job, Coe said Work-Based Learning also helped him practice balancing work and life.

"Completing 320 hours in 10 weeks over the summer was pretty intense, so it allowed me to learn how to balance work and spending time with my family and friends," he said. "The experience reassured me that I can juggle priorities and be successful."

Jane Broden, Hospitality Management professor, said Coe is priming himself for a bright future in hospitality management thanks to his Work-Based Learning experience.

"David is just very polished, professional and kindhearted and has always been interested in pursuing his education," she said. "He's very goal-oriented and has a great personality for hospitality, and I'm thrilled that he is receiving this well-deserved recognition."

What's next for Coe? He's considering transferring to a university to pursue a bachelor's degree in hospitality management as well as exploring new career opportunities at Chick-fil-A.

But no matter where he lands, he says he's thankful that Wake Tech was an affordable, caring college where he found his passion.

"Wake Tech gives you time to figure out what you want to do in life without a huge cost," Coe said. "It's such a caring atmosphere here, and all the staff and faculty are nice, helpful and genuinely interested in me. I thought that would be the case, and it turned out to be so true."

Learn more about how Work-Based Learning allows students to gain practical work experience while pursuing a degree at

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