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Office of Tourism to Launch Online Hospitality Training

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PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Office of Tourism will launch its first ever online hospitality training curriculum May 15, 2008.

The initial training module targets front-line employees and contains eight skill units. Each skill contains a short 10-question quiz. Participants will be required to obtain an eighty percent or better before moving to the next skill unit.

"Hospitality is something South Dakotans are known for," said Secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development Richard Benda. "This training will strengthen our tourism industry, and emphasize the importance of good hospitality to all of our front-line employees."

Managers will be able to monitor each employee's progress. The entire module takes between one and two hours to complete, but does not need to be completed in its entirety in one sitting. When finished, the employee will receive a certificate of completion.

Leading up to the May 15 launch, four Train the Trainer workshops will be held across the state to educate a group of people who will be able to offer assistance to businesses using the program. Train the Trainer workshops will be held in Spearfish April 16, Brookings and Mitchell April 30, and Pierre May 1.

"This training is something the industry requested from us," said Office of Tourism Director Melissa Bump. "We’re happy to be able to provide something that is both comprehensive and user-friendly, and that can continue to be built upon as needed."

Access to the online training will be gained through or after May 15. For more information, contact Eileen Bertsch, South Dakota Office of Tourism, at 605-773-3301 or

The Office of Tourism contracted with the College of Business and Technology at Black Hills State University to develop the training, which will be offered free of charge to all South Dakota businesses. The new online hospitality training program is part of Goal 1 of the 2010 initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota.