Great Business Ideas: Send Employees to a Retail Training Center

Great Ideas for your Small Business:

Send Employees to a Retail Training Center

Finding skilled workers has edged out access to capital as the top small business challenge in several recent independent surveys. Now the retail industry is doing something about it, and every consumer who has waited patiently while an unskilled clerk attempted to ring up a sale can rejoice.

The nation’s first “retail skills center” opened in 1997 in the King of Prussia mall near Philadelphia. The National Retail Federation partnered with American Express, Kravco Co., the mall developer, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to sponsor the hands-on training program. “I’ve heard from employers time and time again that they can’t find workers with the skills to succeed,” then Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge told members of the National Retail Federation meeting.

“This unique partnership helps to ensure that this is not the case in King of Prussia. And for those desiring the skills to go to work, the program lends them that helping hand.” Entry-level employees are taught the basics of customer service and how to make a sale, among other things. Retail federation leaders said the center is specifically designed to help small retailers whose training resources are typically limited and who often hire the greenest, lowest-paid workers. If the center is successful, it could serve as a nationwide model.

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