Utah Tourism Industry Announces New Parks & Tourism Career Certificate

Published: December 08, 2021 | Read Time: 3 minutes

Utah Tourism Industry Association PartnershipAt the 2021 Utah Tourism Conference, Southern Utah University and Utah Tourism Industry Association (UTIA) announced the new Utah Parks and Tourism career certificate program for adult and professional learners. Covering some of Utah's most economically dynamic sectors, the six-week, online learning program combines expertise from those working with the National Parks in Utah, as well as some of the region's outstanding tourism industry experts.

“As our state sees a maturing tourism industry, and strained with recovery challenges, we need to proactively and collectively engage across the industry in thoughtful Destination Development and Visitor Management strategies with our parks, public lands and assets,” said Natalie Randall, UTIA executive director. “This certificate is a way for tourism and parks professionals to centrally learn the greater Utah story, contribute to Utah’s evolving tourism sector, and gain a professional advantage for moving up or entering into the industry.”

Known as University of the Parks for its close proximity and relationship to several national parks and monuments, “SUU is uniquely positioned to serve as the academic provider for the certificate program,“ said Melynda Thorpe, executive director of SUU Community and Professional Development. “The university is already actively engaged in helping both students and professionals prepare for successful careers in tourism, hospitality and public lands, so collaborating with UTIA to provide this training is a good fit for an extension of our resources.“

Briget Eastep, Ph.D., serves as program instructor. Eastep is executive director of Outdoor Pathways at SUU and has spent over 400 days in the backcountry training and educating students for SUU, the University of Utah, Radford University, Oklahoma State University, and the Student Conservation Association. As a professor and administrator she teaches and develops outdoor recreation curriculum and coordinates partnerships with regional public lands through the
Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative (IIC), offering 200 + internships in regional public lands each year.

A capstone experience for participants is an optional full-day Southern Utah FAM Tour where participants have the opportunity to apply course learning to real Utah destination environments. Hosted by Visit Cedar City Brian Head, the tour is an all-expense paid live learning lab experience featuring cooperative cultural experiences with the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, Utah Shakespeare Festival and Southern Utah Museum of Art.

“We want to share some of the highlights of the region with participants as well as provide access to Utah leaders in these areas,” said Maria Twitchell, Visit Cedar City Brian Head executive director.

With funding made available by the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) and its Talent Ready Utah team, in partnership with the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE), 150 scholarships are available to those unemployed or who feel vulnerable in their employment.

Underserved or other populations affected by COVID-19 in accordance with the federal CARES Act may also qualify for no-cost participation. Cohorts are scheduled to run throughout the fall and spring seasons.

For more information on opportunities and training from SUU Community and Professional Development, visit their website at suu.edu/prodev or call (435) 865-8259.

Located in the world’s best backyard, Southern Utah University is the University of the Parks thanks to its close proximity to several outdoor recreational areas and its educational partnerships with the National Park Service. SUU’s Community and Professional Development program offers opportunities for working adults to advance in their careers and pursue educational goals by providing access to a number of in-person and online trainings, certificate programs and conferences.

Tags: Regional Services Community and Professional Development

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