March 2017, Part I




NRF President And CEO On How Good Jobs Change Lives. In a recent post for LinkedIn, National Retail Federation (NRF) President and CEO Matthew Shay discussed RISE Up, the NRF Foundation’s new training and credentialing program to help workers gain the knowledge and abilities needed to secure and succeed in an entry-level retail job. After RISE Up participants complete hands-on training for areas such as customer service and retail math, they will receive a credential they can put on their resume. In examining the challenge of getting more people back into the labor force, Shay explained: “While national trend lines are important, we need approaches that address the practical barriers that keep individuals out of the labor force like a lack of skills, prior job experience and even something as simple as the confidence to take that first step.”


Growing Economy Has Baton Rouge Restaurants Focused On Building Retention. The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report recently published an article by author Maggie Heyn Richardson that discussed Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s growing restaurant economy and how local eateries are building a consistent labor force in the kitchen through on-the-job training. Although executive chef Kelley McCann never went to culinary school, he climbed the career ladder from dishwasher to executive chef in 14 years. In McCann’s current role, his responsibilities not only include crafting a menu, but also filling about 20 kitchen positions. “A lot of things have to happen to ensure you have the right team in place, and passion for the job is really important in a scratch kitchen like ours,” McCann explained.


Walmart Unveils New Training Academy In Florida. On February 20, the Santa Rosa Press Gazette reported on Walmart’s new training academy inside a store in Navarre, Florida. The academy facility is part of the company’s Pathways program, which provides skills training for employees at all levels. “Our training academies help provide associates with the skills they need to succeed and advance, while creating a better and more consistent customer experience,” said Walmart regional general manager John Tow. “Skills training increases productivity, confidence and knowledge, which leads to greater job satisfaction, personal and professional growth and helps make working at Walmart a smart career choice.”


Tennessee Restaurant Owner Discussed The Importance Of Training Employees. Times Free Press sat down with Chattanooga resident Lawton Haygood as he reflected on his life as a restaurateur. Haygood explained that one of the most valuable lessons he learned as a restaurant owner and operator is the importance of training his employees. That’s why new servers at Haygood’s restaurants are provided with seven weeks of training, which includes learning the menu, along with  each table and seat number. “We want them to eat everything on the menu and be able to draw rough pictures of it and describe it,” he said.


Celebrity Chef Tom Colicchio Reflected On Early Restaurant Career Start. Last week, the Wall Street Journal profiled Tom Colicchio, celebrity chef and TV judge on Bravo’s “Top Chef.” He shared how his Italian upbringing in New Jersey has inspired a successful service sector career. After getting his start selling vegetables at an open-air market stand, Colicchio worked his way up through different positions at multiple restaurants—ranging from bussing to prep cook to sauté position to sous-chef. Now, he lives in Brooklyn and owns and operates his own restaurant company, Crafted Hospitality. When he discussed his first summer job working the grill at a local swim club, Colicchio emphasized the importance of entry-level service industry experience: “I took great pride in serving people food that they loved. Having that success early on gave me confidence.”  


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