On the job training and job search support.
Combining work experience with daily training and job search activities, we enroll some 60 men and women annually in our workforce development initiative. Trainees work and learn toward employment or acceptance in career-advancing education and training. All trainees are custodial parents who connect with us through Mercer County’s One Stop Career Resource Center.
Trainees spend mornings in an Arm In Arm food pantry, where they assist customers, assess inventory, and keep shelves stocked. As in any well-run retail workplace, Arm In Arm’s food pantry staff and volunteers strive to provide great customer service, and our workforce trainees are a big part of it as they contribute to an atmosphere of hospitality, friendliness, and efficiency.
Trainees build stronger resumes and make themselves marketable in several ways:
- Working and gaining experience in customer service, inventory, and food handling in our Client Choice pantries
- Occasional office assistance
- Increased comfort and computer literacy with online learning platforms, job applications, and correspondence
- Pursuit of career-related education through online certificate courses in safe food handling (ServSafe) and retail/customer service (International Grocer’s Association/Coca-Cola Institute)
- Attainment of Retail Industry Fundamentals certification (National Retail Foundations) to be better prepared for employment in customer service, sales and merchandising.
- Discussions of interview skills and job search success with representatives from area businesses such as Starbucks
- Workshops led by partner agencies such as Dress for Success (job search techniques and support) and Family Guidance Center (financial literacy and credit counseling)
- Individualized guidance in online job applications, interview skills, and work habits
- In 2018, Workforce Development program members earned positions at Clarity Labs, Rite Aid, Dollar Tree, I H Services, Atrium Post-Acute Care of Princeton, and Two Enterprises, among others.
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