ELKHART — With the hospitality industry going through a growth phase in Elkhart County, the need for more workers to fill jobs in local hotels, restaurants and attractions is only expected to expand in the coming years.

Potential candidates for these new jobs can learn more about tourism and hospitality in Elkhart County and earn two valuable industry certifications through a free, two-week course offered at WorkOne’s Elkhart campus, 430 Waterfall Drive. The course is a partnership of WorkOne, Bethel College and the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The course, which is open to all ages, will be taught over 10 days from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 20-24 and March 27-31. Participants will receive the opportunity to learn the most critical skills — customer service, problem solving, teamwork, food safety, hospitality management — needed by employers in the hospitality industry. Experts representing Amish Acres, Eby’s Pines, The Lerner Theatre and Premier Arts will be among the speakers. A one-day externship at these sites is part of the course.

Participants who complete the course will be qualified for entry-level employment in the hospitality industry and will hold two important certifications — ServSafe food handling safety and American Hotel & Lodging Association Guest Service Gold.

An exclusive job fair with hospitality industry employers will be on the last day of the course.

To sign up, contact Shannon Gray of WorkOne at 574-295-0105, Ext. 3011. The deadline is March 10.

Elkhart County received a $332.1 million direct economic impact in 2015 from visitors to the area, and hospitality and tourism accounts for close to 6,000 jobs in Elkhart County. The industry continues to grow, with five new hotels in various stages of planning and development, and new attractions and events are being added to the calendar and drawing additional visitors to the area.

The Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau is the official tourism advertising/marketing and public/community relations organization for the Elkhart County hospitality industry. The ECCVB champions local businesses, programs and projects that serve residents, visitors and hospitality interests.

— 30 —

For more information, contact Terry T. Mark, director of communications of the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau, at 574-262-8161 or terry@amishcountry.org.