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SLO Partners focuses on customer service training for high school graduates

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Posted at 11:36 PM, Aug 28, 2023

Over the summer, SLO Partners ran a series of customer service workshops for recent high school graduates. It not only helps the graduates but also supports local businesses that need long-term employees.

“We focused on problem-solving, communication, time management, and work ethic. We also did some interview prep and resume building,” Paul Piette, Director for San Luis Obispo County of Education, said.

They ran three separate workshops that were three days long; one in Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles.

“We had hospitality, so we focused on some hotels and resorts as well as some restaurants and we also went into some retail, so we had some retail representation as well,” Piette said.

On the final day of the program, 13 local businesses that were looking for new employees with customer service skills, came to the workshop to interview the participants.

“It was a group interview, and I went out with one or two other people, and we would all interview with the employers together. it would be shooting questions back and forth,” Grover Beach resident Mariah Hay said.

Hay was a recent participant in the summer program and said she was hired at the Cliffs Hotel for the summer.

“I was just happy that they valued self-expression and they wanted their employees to feel welcomed and they could be themselves at work… so I ended up following up and chose to be a pool attendant,” Hay said.

Hay says the skills she learned helped her get the job.

“What got me hired was immediately following up; Being personal in the interview and feeling comfortable talking to them,” Hay said.

Piette said the main goal of the customer service workshop is to, “Create within the community some skilled employees who match the employer's needs but they're also going to be earning a wage that they can afford to live here.”

Hay received a customer service certification after she completed the program.

“It's important that this program is happening because it gives you an incentive and it gives you the skills. These employers are looking for people who haven't had jobs because they are confident because they are fresh out of the workshop, and I think that is awesome,” Hay said.

Piette says they plan to do another workshop next year but are not sure what specific industry they will be focusing on.