Those shopping in Mississippi’s retail establishments know the impact well-trained, customer service-oriented employees have on the shopping experience. Business owners understand that well-trained employees are essential for the business to succeed.
South Mississippi residents have the opportunity to earn a certificate of value in the retail sector, opening opportunities for themselves and supporting workforce development for the coastal region.
Gaining the necessary skills to secure employment in the retail sector is available to South Mississippi residents thanks to a program offered by Goodwill of South Mississippi through funding provided by the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS).
Goodwill of South Mississippi (GSM) offers the Goodwill Customer Service Program (GCSP), a two-part training program designed to help entry-level participants gain customer service skills directly related to frontline work in both Harrison and Jackson counties. The GCSP is an 80-hour training program consisting of 60-hours of classroom-based, instructor-led training and 20-hours of work experience at one of Goodwill’s retail stores. Graduates earn the National Retail Federation Certification.
“At our Goodwill training centers, we empower individuals and strengthen families and communities to help eliminate poverty in Mississippi,” said Stephanie Packer, Class Instructor in the Goodwill Customer Service Program. “Customer service is an important aspect of any job. Customer service skills are needed wherever you are employed. With our certification courses, we teach you customer service best practices while giving them the skills they need for any job and earning a National Retail Federation (NRF) Certificate.”
The no-cost services provided through the program include:
- Access to community resources
- Career assessments
- Computer and soft skills training
- Connections to job leads
- Interview skills development
- Job postings
- Job search strategies
- Labor market information
- One-on-one career coaching
- Onsite hiring events
- Resume assistance
Goodwill also provides case management, course materials, a monthly transportation stipend or bus pass, and a clothing allowance to purchase interview clothing. Post-employment follow-up services are provided, as needed, to help participants retain employment once hired.
“The first step in securing employment and sustainability is the opportunity,” MDHS Executive Director Robert G. “Bob,” Anderson said. “The Goodwill Customer Service Program provides the training, support, and networking necessary to secure employment and thereby secure success. This is a great resource for South Mississippi residents and business owners.”