Responds to the needs of local employers
For the City Times
Individuals looking to start their careers with the area’s largest employers now have a new way to get a foot in the door. Mid-State Technical College has launched a Customer Relationship Professional program designed to meet the huge demand companies have for customer service representatives.
Embedded in Mid-State’s Administrative Professional associate degree program, Customer Relationship Professional is a twelve-credit technical diploma that develops students into important members of a call center or customer service team. The program focuses on communicating with customers to help them navigate past challenges to fulfill their needs. It emphasizes active listening, effective verbal communication and customer service skills.
The idea for the program was born out of recent workforce data pointing to customer service as one of the leading employment opportunities in central Wisconsin. “When we started to explore this need with area businesses, we were overwhelmed by the positive response,” said Dr. Tina Lamb, associate dean of General Education and Business at Mid-State.
Lamb adds that the high level of interest has produced a program that is tailored to the needs of local employers.
“Businesses including Great Lakes Education Services, Sentry Insurance, AIG, Lands’ End, Berkshire Hathaway, and Delta Dental worked closely with the College to link the precise skills they are seeking with the program’s curriculum. They even helped us name the program.” She adds that one benefit of the collaboration is that the curriculum includes company tours and guest speakers from area businesses.
By all signs, the businesses partnering with Mid-State to design this new program are excited to see it come to fruition. “We are always looking for friendly, qualified customer service professionals,” said Lands’ End Employee Services Specialist Shannon Lewis. “This partnership with Mid-State will help us meet our workforce needs.”
Other partners have spoken to the great potential that follows success in a customer service role within their company.
“Working in customer service is a great way to get to know a company inside out, and that deep knowledge lays the foundation for advancement opportunities,” said Stacey Sowiak, Operation Support Services at AIG.
Mid-State also worked with the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board to provide an opportunity for individuals of all skill levels to access this program. As a result of this partnership, the program includes preparatory “on-ramp” courses designed to help students brush up on their computer, writing and business skills, ensuring later success in the four core classes in the program. This will be especially helpful for displaced workers or those who have been out of the classroom for a while.
Mid-State is now accepting applications to the Customer Relationship Professional program, which is offered at the College’s campuses in Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point, and Marshfield. To learn more about this new program, visit www.mstc.edu/programs or contact Lamb at 715-422-5535.