Research Team Launches Website To Aid Hospitality Industry


A new clearinghouse of information for hospitality workers affected by COVID-19 has been compiled by researchers from UCF’s Targeted Research Training Program (TRT). These resources cover a variety of topics including: lay-offs and furloughs; opportunities to make money during the crisis; protecting personal finances; improving mental health; skill development; industry relevant information; and links to activities families can do together.

The TRT is part of Sunshine Education and Research Center, which is funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety. Here is more information about the website.

How does the website fit in with UCF’s Targeted Research Training Program?

The Targeted Research Training Program aims to promote health, safety and well-being within the hospitality/tourism industry by conducting research, creating industry-focused workshops to share best practices and scientific evidence and by training the next generation of occupational health and safety professionals.  The website is a central location that shares TRT-related information, events and resources with professionals, researchers and the public.

The COVID-19 resources are aimed to help front-line workers, many of whom have been laid off or furloughed or seen drastic changes in the nature of their work. We also provide resources for supervisors/managers who are now tasked with providing leadership during an exceptionally uncertain and difficult time. Finally, our resources page also offers resources for academics.

When was the website launched?

The website was launched in Fall 2019 at the start of the Targeted Research Training Program. We began creating the Covid-19 resources page when the shelter-in-place order was initially announced, and have been working since then to gather resources that may be helpful across a wide range of issues.

How did you get the idea?

We heard about the catastrophic changes to the hospitality/tourism/services industry professionals due to COVID-19 through several sources, including local news, human resources professionals from hotels we partner with for research, and from TRT faculty in hospitality management. Upon hearing about the negative impact on both employees and organizations, we knew we wanted to put together something that could be helpful. We believe knowledge is powerful and that our website can serve as a useful clearinghouse of relevant information.

Who is involved with creating and maintaining the website?

Core TRT faculty and students created the website, maintain it and regularly update it with current events, resources and information.

Why is a resource like this important?

Apart from employment resources, the website helps the public stay up-to-date regarding current events hosted by the TRT program. Industry professionals can also learn about what TRT has to offer in terms of services and intervention work. The TRT website is also an important way to partner with industry professionals and researchers.

What are some key areas on the website that will be useful to hospitality workers?

The “Front-Line Employee Resources” provides helpful information that ranges from how to protect your finances during the crisis to mental health resources and activities for families. There is also a Spanish language section.  Visitors can find alternate income sources, how to protect finances, mental health tips and professional development resources.

For managers, we offer resources on best practices for communicating layoffs/furloughs, industry-specific resources and resources for handling the transition.

Would this resource be useful to hospitality workers beyond Florida?

Most of the resources provided on the TRT website have direct relevance to hospitality/tourism/services workers in the Central Florida area. While workers beyond central Florida could use many resources provided on the website (e.g. mental health resources), not all resources may be relevant beyond Florida (e.g. job listings).

Are there any other resources like this for hospitality or other service workers available? Are there some things that are unique about the one UCF has created?

TRT has made the unique contribution of compiling many relevant resources for hospitality/tourism/services workers in a central location.

Are you connected with Rosen College with this website in any way?

The TRT team is comprised of faculty and students from the University of Central Florida (including members from both the College of Sciences and Rosen College), the University of South Florida, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the University of Puerto Rico. We also partner with several major hospitality employers throughout Central Florida.

Will you be tracking websites visits, feedback, etc.? Have you received any feedback on it thus far?

The TRT team keeps track of website visits and provides visitors the opportunity to provide feedback regarding the helpfulness of the resources provided on the TRT website.

For more information about TRT or the website, please contact

The TRT Team:

Faculty: Dr. Mindy Shoss (College of Sciences), Dr. Steve Jex (College of Sciences), Dr. Kristin Horan (College of Sciences), Dr. Cynthia Mejia (Rosen College), and Dr. Deborah Breiter-Terry (Rosen College)

Students: Jenna Beltramo (College of Sciences), Katherine Ciarlante (College of Sciences), Amanda Grinley (College of Sciences)

Comments are closed.