Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Next Steps/Essentials of Customer Service

[Next Steps graduates (L-R): Kelly Higgins, Fosiya Diriye, Kayla Hodgkin, Jamie Franks, Dorothy Roy, Deborah Dirsek, Frank Witherell, Mark Mason, Michelle Hodgdon, Tina Hutchinson, Anneliese Heinig, Susan Bubier (absent when photo was taken: Jennifer Miner and Shelly Holland]

A graduation ceremony was held last Wednesday, for group of 14 candidates who completed The Essentials of Customer Service Training, offered at Central Maine Community College. This training, a Next Steps Training model, consisted of 90 hours of workplace-specific training, including 27 hours in the Microsoft Office Suite®. This type of hard skills training followed on the heels of the 60 hour WorkReady™ for 11 of the graduates.

In addition to classroom training, graduates had the opportunity to participate in workplace tours of Sisters of Charity Health System, Citistreet, and TD Banknorth. Additionally, L.L. Bean and Affiliated Computer Services made classroom presentations about opportunities for employment, as well as a sense of what it would be like to work for these companies.

Recruitment for the program, as well as assessment, and career exploration was led by Coastal Enterprises, Inc (CEI) in collaboration with the following partners: Lewiston Adult Education, the Department of Health and Human Services/ASPIRE and the Division of Support Enforcement and Recovery, the Maine Department of Labor/Lewiston CareerCenter, and the Central/Western Maine Workforce Investment Board. Course curriculum was developed with consultation from faculty and adjunct faculty from Central Maine Community College, and coordinated by the college’s Department of Corporate and Community Services.

Funding for the program was made possible from a grant originating with the Job Opportunities for Low-Income (JOLI) Program for Oxford and Androscoggin Counties and administered by CEI.

1 comment:

g2bn2wn said...

Congratulations to the graduates and to the developers of this program. Whether or not we want to admit it, Customer Service is an integral part of our every day lives. In a workshop I attended several years ago called "Life is a sales call" I was reminded how each of us is working every day to convince and pursuade others to buy into whatever it is we are selling or agree with what we are saying, etc. Customer Service seems to fit into this category as well. Essentially, everyone we come in contact with is a potential customer. Their opinions of us are often formed from first impressions and/or their experiences with us. Good impressions and experiences will bring far greater rewards than the contrary. We all seem to share the "bad" customer service experiences we have. I wonder how often we share the good ones as well. Maine is becoming, if not already, a very service driven economy. One should not assume good customer service is easy to come by and while we expect it from others, how often do we give it? Maine has some businesses who have excelled in this and we can all learn to be just a little more mindful of our role and more importantly our responsibility. We need more programs like this and I, for one, would like to see us take this approach with other skills as well.