When an international wireless billing company announced it would be hiring 600 to 800 employees to staff its new call service center in Laredo, the local Workforce Development Board saw an opportunity for good jobs for many of its clients. But to be eligible for the jobs, the clients would need training in computers and customer service skills.
The Laredo Workforce Development Board turned to TEEX for help. In just one month, the Technology and Economic Development Division rolled out a 144-hour course for “customer service representatives (CSR’s).”
It’s another example of TEEX developing customized training to meet an industry need, said Dr. Trina Smith, who is managing the project.
“With a starting salary of $8 to $11 an hour, a CSR job provides a good pay structure for a hard to serve population of men and women who have been constrained to minimum wage jobs,” Smith says. “This training will prepare them for a higher paying job.”
The class includes keyboarding and basic computer skills, basic Internet skills and customer-oriented skills, such as handling irate customers, listening, and asking for additional business. It also includes material on how to get and keep a job. Research indicates that targeted participants can usually get a job but they have a difficult time keeping it because of the many obstacles they face in their lives.
The training is being offered at Texas A&M International University in Laredo. Seven classes are scheduled and can accommodate up to 18 students each. The first class began Aug. 13.
“We were fortunate in that Texas A&M International provided the classroom space. Additionally, Pat Wallace, with assistance from other instructors at TED, obtained 20 computers from University surplus and set up a computer lab for us. This saved TEEX a lot of money,” Smith said.
“Another success story is that we were able to employ four locally displaced workers as adjunct instructors with extensive call center experience,” Smith added. “We are fortunate to have found subject matter experts who helped me develop the course as well as who agreed to conduct the training for us in Laredo.”
Now that the course has been developed, Smith said TEEX hopes to market it to other parts of the state. “Because it was developed in a modularized format, potential customers can pick and choose only those modules that fit their unique needs.”