More than 1,000 South Dakota employees have participated in an online training program developed by the College of Business and Technology at Black Hills State University through a contract with the South Dakota Office of Tourism. The customer service training curriculum Serving Great Faces in Great Places, launched its first training May 29, 2008.

The training is 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.

“It’s exciting that so many people are using the training,” says Sheila Aaker, assistant dean of the College of Business and Technology at BHSU, and also the creator of the content of the training. “Businesses are getting creative when using the training with their employees. I have heard of one business that makes applicants complete the training to hand in their certificate of completion with their application of employment. The Office of Tourism has also received many inquiries from other states that would like to know more about the online training.”

Though the training was initially developed for businesses in the visitor industry, all businesses with an interest in hospitality training are welcome to use the online program.

Business owners/managers are required to register their businesses before any of their employees are able to register and access the training. Managers will be able to monitor each of their employee's progress. When finished, each employee will receive a certificate of completion. Participating businesses will also receive a certificate of participation.

If you or your business is interested in the Serving Great Faces in Great Places online customer service training please visit the Office of Tourism’s website, www.sdvisit.com.

For more information contact Aaker at 642-6702 or email SheilaAaker@BHSU.edu.