12 Oct Wake-Up Call: Goodwill Training Program Gives Hand Up to Community Helper
Eva Franklin stays so busy helping others, she sometimes fails to consider her own needs. That was the case in April of 2021, when she walked into Goodwill’s Career Solutions Center in Nashville.
Over two decades, Eva served as a foster parent to more than 200 children. After that — while working as a school bus driver — she continued to care for and tutor young people in her Donelson neighborhood. She is very familiar with Goodwill’s mission, having taken many of her foster children to the nonprofit for career services.
On this day, she had arranged to meet a young woman and help her register for Goodwill’s free Call Center Training program. When the teen failed to show up for the appointment, it suddenly dawned on Eva that the Call Center Training course might benefit her as well.
Eva injured her knee in a vehicle accident a few months earlier, and despite surgery, she had been unable to return to driving a bus. Now in her 50s, she needed to find a different line of work.
“I had applied for several jobs, but I didn’t have a resume ready and wasn’t prepared,” she says. “I was kind of in a holding pattern. I just hadn’t taken the time to think about my own situation.”
Eva applied for the four-week Call Center training and was accepted. The program provides participants with the knowledge and experience needed to professionally manage incoming phone calls and succeed in a customer service environment — whether in a call center or working remotely.
Participants learn clear communication strategies, email and phone etiquette, record entry and more through both classroom and hands-on experience in Goodwill’s Call Center. They receive an $80-per-week stipend during training and an MSI Call Center Association certification and placement assistance upon graduation.
The program begins with an overview of several Microsoft and Google applications. During her first week of classes, Eva used that new knowledge to send a resume — which Goodwill Career Coaches helped her revise — to several employers.
She got a quick response from a staffing agency that offered her a call center position working from home, assisting people who had filed with the state for unemployment benefits.
“I told them I was committed to my four weeks of Call Center Training, and they said they would wait for me to finish the class,” Eva recalls.
Eva distinguished herself in the program.
“She was a very enthusiastic and eager student,” instructor Judith Brandon says. “She was on time every day and really paid attention during class.”
One of the most valuable lessons Eva learned was that an effective call center employee masters the use of their equipment and the information they will provide customers — or at least how to find it quickly — before ever taking calls.
That attention to preparation proved especially helpful once she graduated from the program and began her new remote position.
“You are at home — so you don’t have anybody right there to fall back on or show you how to do things,” she explains. “Going through the Goodwill class prepared me for that mindset.”
Eva was among a wave of about 15 new hires on a team handling unemployment claims. Four months later, she is the only one of that group still on the team. She enjoys her job, and working from home has enabled her to earn a paycheck without risk of reinjuring her knee.
She credits the Goodwill Call Center Training program for her success. She frequently refers jobless callers to Goodwill for its employment services, and she sometimes tells them about her own experience.
“It was a blessing to me,” she says.
Goodwill offers a four-week training program that provides entry-level workers with the knowledge and experience needed to professionally manage incoming phone calls and succeed in a customer service environment — whether in a call center or working remotely. Participants learn Microsoft and Google applications, clear communication strategies, email and phone etiquette, record entry and documentation and other best practices for customer service.
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