“I feel like I belong here.” Sheltimah underwent Five9 Call Center training through JEVS Work Ready, and is now a JEVS employee.
“I’ve been through some things,” said Sheltimah J. “I was in a stagnant place — I didn’t have a job, I’d had some back surgeries, and I just needed a helping hand. I was referred to JEVS Work Ready by the Philadelphia County Assistance Office, and showed up not knowing what to expect.”
Work Ready provides a comprehensive set of employment-oriented services to those receiving Public Assistance benefits, including individualized service plans, skills training, and job search assistance.
When she arrived at Work Ready, Sheltimah was apprehensive at first. “I wasn’t sure if JEVS was going to be like the County Assistance Office — which if you’ve been there you know is not the best experience. But I was pleasantly surprised by how nice everyone was. In fact, on my very first day at Work Ready, I asked if JEVS was hiring. They weren’t just then, but the person I asked was the Computer Lab Instructor, and today I have her job!”
The way Sheltimah was able to land her dream job at JEVS was through the Customer Service Training program offered at Work Ready.
“I became much more professional and I was able to build the confidence I needed.”
The program involves four weeks of training with Five9 software, a leading call center application used by business worldwide. During that time, participants not only learn the software, but also how to interact with customers, take after-call actions, and enhance their writing skills.
“First, you take an assessment to get in,” explained Sheltimah. “Then you have to show up on time and dress professionally as if going to work. That really motivated me. The lessons I learned carry over no matter what kind of work you get into. Then when you graduate you get a certificate of completion.”
After the four weeks of customer service training, instruction continues with two weeks of intense job readiness training, including resume building, cover letter composition, and mock job interviews. Participants also work with job placement counselors.
The program is led by Customer Service Training Instructor Valerie Jackson. “Since starting in 2019 we’ve had a total of seven graduating cohorts with a 95% completion rate, and 76% of grads went on to gain employment or enroll in college,” said Jackson. “In terms of employment, we’ve placed students not only in customer service positions, but also in office administration and healthcare, including at Jefferson Hospital and Independence Blue Cross.”
The course was a life changer for Sheltimah. “I loved the customer service training with Ms. Jackson so much. She had me actually enjoying things that I never liked doing. Resume writing was the bane of my existence, but she got me to write a resume, cover letter and thank you letter in the space of an afternoon. I just became so much more professional and I was able to build the confidence that I needed to even apply for a job. Prior to coming here, I struggled with that.”
After Sheltimah completed the training and two weeks of job search, there was an opening at Work Ready. “Ms. Jackson noticed I was pretty computer savvy and saw me helping other participants in Five9. I was offered a part time job in the computer lab, and later became a full-time employee.”
As part of her job Sheltimah is now involved in online computer workshops for Work Ready clients. “Since the pandemic I’ve become a bit of a Zoom expert, and I’ve put together online workshops on resume writing and telephone interviewing. I also teach computer basics like how to use email, the internet, and other technology-based life skills.”
Sheltimah now teaches online workshops on resumé building.
The most recent Customer Service Training class graduated in February. A new cohort was scheduled to start in March but had to be postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions. Now Jackson has redesigned the curriculum for use in virtual training, and an online version of the course will be rolled out this month.
Sheltimah believes others should take advantage of JEVS Work Ready and the Customer Service Training. “That course was the first step in getting back on my feet, and now I’m so thankful to be at JEVS. I feel like I belong here.”