Hospitality / Tourism
Planning Portion of the Hospitality and Tourism Initiative:
The EcO15 Tourism initiative focused on identifying sustainable careers within the Hospitality and Tourism industry to enhance employment opportunities within Southeastern Indiana. EcO15 partnered with Indiana University’s Tourism Research & Education Center to conduct a needs assessment of career opportunities and the impact of Tourism to the ten counties. Focus group data was used to investigate career paths to aid residents interested in joining or advancing in the tourism industry.
- The Hospitality & Tourism industry employs 24,000 + residents in EGR 9 providing $530 million in employee income
- Approximately 70% of tourism leaders feel the industry will grow during the next 3-10 years
- High satisfaction & 90% repeat visits by tourist support industry optimism of continual and potential growth of tourism in EGR9
- Each visitor to the region infused $121.12 in the economy
- 2009: Every 10,000 visitors created 19 jobs, generating $1.2 million in sales and $94,000 in state/local taxes.
- Residents favorably recognize the benefits of the local tourism industry as an economic activity
At the conclusion of the planning portion of the EcO15 Hospitality/Tourism initiative, some funding remained in this piece of the grant. As a result, the Advisory Council proposed the launch of two pilot programs and requested the evaluation of a third project.
1.) The “START” program addresses the need for exploration in a number of career options within the hospitality industry. Students enrolled in the eighteen week course are exposed to over twelve career pathways, job shadow opportunities and build their professional resume and portfolio.
The program is endorsed by the American Hotel and Lodging Association and is an approved course by the State of Indiana Department of Education. This program is being offered at the Ohio County Education Center and is endorsed by the three large casinos on the Ohio River. As the pilot is progressing, we are pursuing sustainability options with industry.
2.) The introduction of “License to Serve” Customer Service Training, endorsed by Destination Marketing Association International, is being made available in the form of portable resources to large and small employers in the ten counties in Economic Growth Region 9.
The training materials include software registrations and the hardware to support training facilitated by trained instructors or the loan of the materials to small businesses who cannot allow the release of their employees to attend out of office professional development.
The material focuses on greeting a visitor, listening to visitors and handling visitor problems when they occur. The Convention Visitor Centers are partnering with EcO15 to oversee this program in their respective areas. Placement of the resources will be at the Visitor Centers, career centers, learning centers and/or libraries.
3.) The Advisory Council also has recommended that remaining funds be allocated at the community college level to build and/or augment programs that enhances the continuum of education in hospitality and tourism. Such programs will complement the two programs listed previously and address the needs of our residents by raising their skills up at least one level in their career pathway in the hospitality industry.
At this time, Ivy Tech has proposed a certificate program (Hospitality Institute) which includes 68 hours of training and development. The primary focus is on customer service and leadership development skills for those in a team leader or supervisory role. The tentative plan is to launch this pilot in January of 2011.