Up to 40 people will be able to tap into an online training program at Okanagan College and gain work experience to prepare them for jobs in the hospitality industry.

The Hospitality Professional Program Project-Based Labour Market Training project, which just received $611,000 in funding from the provincial government, is recruiting applicants living in and around Kelowna, Salmon Arm, Penticton, Revelstoke, Sicamous and Vernon. Anyone interested in applying to the program or finding out about eligibility requirements can contact their local WorkBC centre.

"The tourism sector is resilient. We're seeing evidence of that in the Okanagan and Shuswap as businesses begin to reopen," said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, in a news release. "This specialized training and practical experience will ensure that museums, resorts, restaurants and hotels in the Thompson Okanagan will have employees who are well prepared and ready to go to work in the hospitality industry."

"Businesses are reopening and they're looking for fully-trained employees who have a variety of skills," said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. This training is a boost to the tourism industry and will provide much-needed jobs to people in the region."

Theory and virtual classroom training provided by Okanagan College will include computer software, marketing and sales, soft skills, industry certifications, human resources and management, project management and accounting, as well as 10 weeks of work experience.

Over two intakes, there are spaces for 40 participants in the 46-week project, which will run until July 2021.

Priority for the program will be given to people with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, immigrants, victims of violence, multi-barriered persons and youth.