A Program Participant’s View on the Retail Skills Training Program

  • Sarah Wilson |
  • | Mission
Goodwill Retail Skills Training Program

Earlier this fall, Goodwill of Central Iowa began its Retail Skills Training Program after a short hiatus due to the COIVD-19 pandemic. The Retail Skills Training Program is a 6-week course that operates Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Through this program, individuals receive paid hands-on training by working in our warehouse and stores. With classroom time built in, participants are also presented with the opportunity to earn the nationally accredited RISE Up Certification at the end of the six-week program.

Craig, a returning Goodwill of Central Iowa program participant, enrolled in the Retail Skills Training Program and had plenty to say about his experience. Having been with Goodwill for 11 years, Craig explained his desire to join the program stemmed from wanting the opportunity to be with his friends.

Craig knew that choosing to join the Retail Skills Training Program would be challenging. However, his desire to succeed paired with his naturally positive attitude drove him to the challenge. Craig explained that he had to tell himself “to not let people distract me. I decided I was going in and I was going to do it, and that each week I was going to defeat the battle.”

Craig works in Goodwill's Retail Skills Training Program.

A Typical Day

A typical day in the Retail Skills Program starts in the classroom where trainees spend their first two hours studying the RISE Up curriculum. RISE Up provides the basic knowledge that is expected when working in a retail environment.

“Classroom time is where we discuss different things,” says Craig. “We go over what we have already covered, what words mean, terms, definitions, and stuff like that.”  

After completing their required studies for the day, the program participants will then move onto the operations floor. The operations floor is where trainees receive hands-on training. Here they will learn how to use pricing guides, prepare products to go out to the sales floor, operate a pallet jack, and more. “I try to keep busy,” said Craig. “When I’m hanging clothes, I try to get halfway, or close to halfway done, and then I start tagging the items.”

RISE UP Certification

Throughout the program, participants practice and prepare for the RISE Up exam. By passing this exam they will obtain industry-recognized certification. By having the RISE UP certification in combination with the hands-on experience our participants are given a competitive edge when applying for jobs. Employers can quickly recognize that these applicants have the fundamental knowledge and skills to work an entry-level job in retail.

When Craig started taking his practice exams his test score was only 75%. After continued practice, studying, and experience, he slowly increased his scores. “Pretty soon my score jumped to 82%, and now I’m at 94%,” Craig said excitedly. “I’m learning this, to never give up, to not beat yourself up. If you want to do anything, you have to believe in yourself.” 

Craig’s Commentary

According to Craig, his favorite part throughout the program has been the camaraderie among the participants. “Doing the work, talking, laughing, and having a good time. That has been my favorite part,” said Craig. “Goodwill has been my home from the beginning and this place has taught me a lot of good things.”

Following the Retail Skills Training Program, Craig’s goal is to earn gainful employment. “My mom asked me if I would be sad when I was done and I told her no because I know I made people proud,” said Craig. “I want to tell people, look at the accomplishments I have made!”We are proud of Craig and all that he has accomplished through the Retail Skills Training Program. By supporting Goodwill of Central Iowa, you are helping provide opportunities to people like Craig. Click here for more information about our impact. To learn more about our Retail Skills Training Program, click here.

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