Santa Monica employers and employees can beef up their knowledge of the city through “I Am Santa Monica,” a free training workshop and tour of Santa Monica, billed as “a destination-brand and service excellence program.”

The Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau, in partnership with the City of Santa Monica, Small Business Development Center, Chamber of Commerce, and Santa Monica College (SMC), established the I Am Santa Monica Program in May.

The first hour of the interactive program includes a city tour in which participants can learn facts about Santa Monica, including that 85,000 people reside in the city, which has 37 hotels, over 400 restaurants and a large cultural scene including Bergamot Station and Broad Stage.

Other facts addressed are that Santa Monica is the highest requested location for new hires of Google, has roughly 900 film permits issued annually, and the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium held the first Academy Awards ceremony.

The next two hours of the program take place in a classroom setting at Santa Monica College’s annex building attached to The Broad Stage.

“The I Am Santa Monica program proved to be a valuable tool for all SMPD [Santa Monica Police Department] staff,” said Santa Monica Police Chief Timothy J. Jackman. “Those who have lived and worked in this city for years came out of the workshop having learned something new about this great city and how to better assist our visitors.”

Santa Monica Fire Chief Jim Hone added, “My senior staff and I had the pleasure of attending the I Am Santa Monica program, a wonderful program designed to share the unique diversity and culture of Santa Monica packed into a robust 8.3 square miles.”

To date, over 700 official Santa Monica ambassadors, representing 50 different businesses, organizations and city departments have completed the course, according to the bureau.

“This program is a necessity for our destination and more important than ever,” said Misti Kerns, president and chief executive officer of the visitors bureau. “In today’s highly competitive hospitality industry, Santa Monica’s proactive approach to customer service and our employees’ knowledge of the destination is sure to set the standard for the future and provide us a sustainable revenue flow and keep visitors coming back.”

The program is free and open to the public, with additional hospitality courses being offered by SMC for service employees who are interested in advanced education.

Information, IAmSantaMonica .com/ or (310) 319-6263.