This past summer, Greater Twin Cities United Way WINGs awarded HIRED with a $60,000 grant to provide young mothers with customer service training. We’re proud to report that our first ProjectCARE class has graduated and is well on its way to success. Of the three young women who graduated from class, two have earned the National Professional Certification in Customer Service and the remaining participant found a job prior to her test date. We are continually impressed by our participants’ accomplishments, and are grateful to all of our partners who made this project possible.
Alvita Lynch, a 25-year-old mother of two, is a great example of the power of collaboration. Alvita joined ProjectCARE because she struggled to stay motivated in her job search. Looking for a change of pace and a new direction, Alvita’s employment counselor recommended customer service training. “When Alvita first came into my class, she was very quiet and reserved – almost cautious about being in the classroom,” shares Tanya Dyer, ProjectCARE Senior Trainer. She continues “It was great being able to watch her open up as the weeks went by. She started to recognize her strengths and her growth areas; she is incredibly warm and caring. Alvita was such an asset to the classroom experience.”
During Alvita’s four-week customer service training, she learned fundamental customer service skills including effective listening, non-verbal communication, phone etiquette, handling difficult customers and meeting supervisor expectations. As a part of the series, Tanya also spent a week teaching job search basics and provided hands-on support as young mothers looked for jobs and completed job applications.
Aside from funding the project, WINGs members have provided business expertise to ProjectCARE as well. In fact, Meredith Heerey, Human Resources Business Partner for Lunds, played a key role in getting Alvita a job interview with the store manager in Wayzata. Using this professional connection as well as the skills she learned in ProjectCARE, Alvita nailed the interview and was quickly hired on.
Alvita has been working at Lunds for more than a month now, and enjoys interacting with customers. She even recalled a recent situation with an impatient customer where she had to draw on the customer service skills she learned in class. “I just had a positive attitude and smiled,” describes Alvita. She’s hoping that within the next couple of months she can begin working full-time.
“I would recommend the [customer service] class to anybody. The whole community would be better if we all had customer service training!”