On September 18 Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota celebrated the first-ever graduating class from its new retail training partnership with Macy’s. The graduation ceremony, like the training class, was held at Macy’s Mall of America store in Bloomington. It’s a partnership that has been in development for nearly a year.
Lisa Guetzkow, Director of Employment Services at Goodwill-Easter Seals, considers it great news for the retail training program. “It’s a huge value to have Macy’s involved,” she explained. “The location at the Mall of America helps us to better serve the entire metro area – and having Macy’s name attached to our retail training program is fantastic.”
The six-week training program began on August 10 and included individualized instruction, hands-on work experience, communication and customer service training, as well as problem-solving and conflict resolution techniques.
Funding support for the program comes from several sources, including Ramsey County. Ramsey County Social Worker Theresa McConnon was instrumental in helping one of the participants – Autumn – get into the class. Theresa was present to see Autumn at her graduation ceremony, and was impressed by the positive affect the program has had. “Autumn has learned a lot and is ready to be independent,” she told us.
In her graduation speech Autumn told the audience how the training program helped her improve her self-confidence. “I learned that I’m more of an asset to a company than I thought I was,” she told the crowd. “I have more abilities than I give myself credit for.”
Macy’s has been enthusiastic in their support of the program. “We’re really excited to have the program at our store and to be able to help change people’s lives,” explained Sarah Arman, Human Resources Manager at Macy’s Mall of America store.
Goodwill-Easter Seals’ Retail Instructor Sheng Yang praised the work done by everyone at Macy’s. “I love the atmosphere they have there, I can’t wait for the next class,” she said. “Macy’s was very flexible with their schedules and the associates were very friendly. They were very knowledgeable about their products, but the best part is the patient guidance they gave to each individual, just like they were a part of their team. “
The next Retail Training program at Macy’s is scheduled to begin in early 2016.