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The South Dakota Office of Tourism will launch its first ever online hospitality training for South Dakota business owners this summer. 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 initial training module targets front-line employees and contains eight skill units.  Each unit contains a short 10-question quiz.  Participants will be required to obtain an 80 percent or better before moving to the next skill unit.

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.”

The new online hospitality training program is part of Goal 1 of the 2010 initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota.

Access to the online training will be gained through www.SDVisit.com or www.BHSU.edu/businesstechnology after May 15.

For more information, contact Eileen Bertsch, South Dakota Office of Tourism, at 605-773-3301 or eileen.bertsch@state.sd.us.