Osceola Commission approves funds to continue training for tourism workers



OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Osceola County commissioners have just agreed to spend thousands of dollars to teach tourism industry workers how to better do their jobs.

The county has funded the program for 20 years now as part of an effort to better sell Osceola County to visitors.

The contract paves the way for workshops and leadership programs for workers all over the county.

The county is known for its affordable lodging, close proximity to amusement parks and remote beauty. County commissioners also want visitors to remember the face-to-face interaction they have with service industry workers.

"They need to know that when they went back home they had the best value and the best experience here in Osceola County," said Commissioner Frank Attkisson.

Commissioners agreed to spend $143,000 tourist tax dollars on a tourism customer service program.

The program will teach private-sector employees how to do their jobs better and more effectively. Housekeepers, ticket takers and food service workers have the chance to get the training.

"But don't these employees already get training from their employers?" Channel 9's Ryan Hughes asked Attkisson.

"Well, they could, but those employers, respectfully, are training for their brand, not the Osceola experience," said Attkisson.

Attkisson said the workers will learn how to sell the area, so people come back.

The program will train at least 100 workers in Osceola County. Many of those work in the hotel industry.

The local Chamber of Commerce will get the money to conduct year-round education and training activities.

Those people Channel 9 spoke with had mixed opinions.

"I don't think they should be using tax money for that," said Osceola visitor Amaury Casso.

"The fact they're putting money back into the county to train people is a blessing and a great thing," said Osceola County resident Peter Morand.

At a meeting earlier this week, Commissioner Michael Harford said he was concerned because the program has never been looked at by an outside agency to find its strengths and weaknesses.