October 2016, Part II
Walmart Employees Gain Skills To Climb The Career Ladder. A recent New York Times story details the sales and customer satisfaction improvements Walmart has experienced as a result of its plan to not only increase employee wages, but also expand opportunities for advancement and better training. Neil Irwin reports that “Walmart’s pay increases got most of the attention. But the new training and prospect of better career paths for hourly staff members could be more significant in the long term.” In fact, 200 training academies are planned to help set hourly employees on a management track. Newly-promoted customer service manager Garrett Watts, hired in an entry-level role earlier this year, said he was attracted to the job after hearing from a friend about the potential to rise within the company. “I didn’t used to think this would be something I would want to do…I wanted something that wasn’t a stopgap, but could be a real career,” he said. Now, Watts’ is working to achieve his next goal– becoming an assistant store manager.
Family Relies On Pizza Delivery To Ensure Grandmother’s Safety. When Hurricane Matthew hit Florida, Nebraska resident Eric Olsen was unable to contact his grandmother on the Palm Coast after several failed attempts to reach the police. Fortunately, Olsen could rely on a local Papa John’s store that answered right away. “Papa John’s got there in 30 minutes and put the cellphone to her ear,” Olsen told ABC News. Employee Lance Tyler, who went above and beyond to follow special directions upon delivery, explained to WFTV that Olsen’s “priceless” reaction topped every tip he’s ever received. “The way that he answered the phone, ‘Is she there? Is she OK’ It sounded like he was worried,” he recalled. Olsen said that her pepperoni pizza was “fantastic” and much appreciated.
67 Years Of Service And Friendship. On October 12, the Lansing State Journal profiled Betty Collette, a staple of the J.C. Penney in Lansing, Michigan who is retiring after 67 years with the company. When Collette began working for J.C. Penney in 1950, she was a single mother who was supporting herself and her son. Collette made several moves before ending up in Lansing, but always worked with the chain that gave her a chance. Although she is moving on, her legacy at the stores she worked at will be cherished. In the words of her son Will, now the Ingham County Circuit Court Judge, “People just love my mom. If you were a customer, you were her friend.”
A Chef Decides To Return To Service Industry Roots. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently published an article about Jennifer Burfield, the chef at Cibo Italian Restaurant who decided to return to a career that she loves after a five-year hiatus. Burfield said of coming back to the service industry, “I missed all of it. I missed making food…I kind of see it as getting back to my roots — going home.” Before becoming one of the top chefs in Pennsylvania, she started out as a hostess at a Red Lobster, and later went on to study at the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon. Following her hiatus and move to Pittsburgh, she took it upon herself to speak with the owners of Cibo which had closed in 2014, and began to form ideas for what eventually became “Cibo No. 2.” Burfield said: “I do this for my customers. If they’re happy, I’m happy.”
Teaching High School Students Lifelong Skills. On October 19, the Globe Gazette profiled Riceville High School’s (Iowa) family and consumer science classroom, which features a new curriculum that focuses on a broad range of food preparation and knowledge. This early training addresses a growing need in the hospitality and restaurant industry, but also helps students gain knowledge that will benefit them for years to come. ProStart, which has expanded to almost 30 schools, is a nationwide career-building program created by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation that teaches students about every facet of the industry. Savannah Sullivan, a student taking this course in Riceville, stated, “But even if I don’t go (into the food industry), this is a good thing to have… It teaches discipline and it’s fast-paced.”
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