Pathway Focus of the Month: Office Administration
Potential Career: Customer Service Representative
(Primary information sources: Massachusetts Career Information System and Career Moves, 2009)
Not your normal “Hot Job,” employment as a Customer Service Representative (Rep) is a great way into entry-level work with multiple career pathways in a range of industries. In addition, unlike many other types of employment, there is a growth in demand for Customer Service Reps.
Customer service reps investigate and resolve customers’ complaints about merchandise, service, billing, or credit rating. They may write letters to explain company policy. They may also provide customer assistance with the assembly, installation, or use of a product. Currently, these jobs are found in the following sectors: Insurance Carriers & Related Activities (17%), Retail Trade (11%), Manufacturing (9%), Information Technology (9%), Wholesale Trade (9%), Administrative Support Services (8%), Banking (7%) and Telecommunications (5%). No formal training is required; however, employers prefer applicants who possess good writing, communication and interpersonal skills. Because this is an entry level position, wages average $17/hour, but more training and education can quickly lead to management positions and a higher wage.
Being committed to quality customer service can get your foot in the door with many big name Massachusetts companies, including: UPS, IKEA, Staples, Raytheon, Bank of America, Blue Cross Blue Shield, AAA and the University of Massachusetts. Large Massachusetts companies like Kronos and most temp agencies provide customer service-dedicated workforce to companies unable to hire them full-time; they are also a good place to look for employment.
Job Outlook: In an increasingly competitive economy, business establishments will seek to maintain good customer relations and resolve customer complaints more quickly. These trends should cause employment of customer service representatives to increase much faster than the average for all occupations through 2016. Massachusetts anticipates a 15.6% growth in this occupation over the next 5-6 years.
For More Information: The Massachusetts Career Information System has good information on this career choice, as does the Occupational Outlook Handbook (2010-2011 Edition). There is actually quite a bit of information on this occupation, but no real organizations or associations for students to go to for more information from inside the field.
About BCC’s Programming: BCC has a great Office Administration program, offering two degree and six certificate program options. Certificate programs offer condensed programming and allow quick entry into the workforce. All Office Administration certificate and general education credits can transfer to an Office Administration degree program in the same option. These programs provide both the technical and effective communications skills employers require for this position.
Hints for Success: Successful people in this field possess excellent communications skills, are able to multi-task effectively, and can quickly and efficiently solve problems. Minimum keyboarding speed of 40 wpm, error-free, will help you in these programs, in your career and in life!
Race to the Top Update. Last month, American Diploma Project (ADP) Network states Delaware and Tennessee were selected, from among 16 finalists, as the winners of the first phase of Race to the Top (RTTT) grants. Delaware will receive approximately $100 million and Tennessee $500 million to implement bold, comprehensive school reform plans over the next four years. Applications for Phase 2 are due on June 1, 2010. To help states as they prepare their proposals and to continue the nationwide dialogue on education reform, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) has posted all Phase 1 applications, peer reviewers' comments and scores on its Web site.
Bristol CVTE Consortium website gets a makeover! The old website is gone and new information is in its place. The revised Bristol CVTE Website provides information portals to students/parents, educators, and partner schools and will be a growing repository of resources and information including student forms, articulation agreement, program of study grids, event calendar, relevant research and more. You can even look-up Bristol CVTE Consortium Updates in the archives.
100 Best Communities for Young People. America's Promise Alliance and the ING Foundation are now seeking entries for the 2010 100 Best Communities for Young People (100 Best) competition. These communities are American cities and towns whose top priority is keeping children in school and helping end the nation's dropout crisis through innovative programs that are addressing everyday challenges facing young people and creating better places for them to live and grow. Winning communities receive national recognition and media exposure, financial and logistic support to celebrate selection at a local event, commemorative awards to be displayed in the community, exposure to Alliance partner resources and the insights of other winning communities through an innovative online space to exchange ideas, and invitations to exclusive online informational events featuring Alliance partners designed to strengthen local efforts. Interested communities can apply through June 1, 2010.
BCC Fall Course Numbers to Change. Starting Fall 2010, Bristol Community College will move from a two-digit to a three-digit numbering system for its courses. In addition, there have been some changes to BCC course names, and the math course sequence has been revised. Consult the 2010 Academic Catalog, now available online, for all new course numbers and information.
Professional Development Opportunities
ELA Accuplacer Alignment Seminar, April 30, 2010, 8am – 4pm, Bristol Community College.
A few seats are still available for this critical professional development opportunity. Secondary and postsecondary English faculty will work together to analyze two English college placement tests, and working across institutions, develop an English-based crosswalk instructors can use to better address student skill gaps and ensure college readiness in writing and reading. Participants will receive instructional resources, state-based research and existing practices information and resources regarding the Common Core--FREE. Email or fax registration forms (508.730.3292) to secure your seat; contact Chris Shannon (508.678.2811, ext. 2339).
Haas Technical Education Center Conference & STEM Job Fair, Worcester Technical High School, One Skyline Drive, Worcester, Friday, May 7, 2010, 8:00 a.m. - 2:45 p.m. This event has a bit of everything—job fair, technical & informational presentations and a panel discussion led by the new Secretary of Labor & Workforce Development. SPACE IS LIMITED. See the flyer for more information. There is NO CHARGE if you register prior to April 30; register after April 30 for $25. Contact Leslie Parady (508.831.7020) for more information.
Connecting Activities Conference, Tuesday, May 18, Hogan Campus Center, College of the Holy Cross, 9 am – 3:30 pm. This conference will focus on promoting health and safety as an employability skill for young workers by connecting participants with promising practices that support safe and healthy workplaces. It is an opportunity to share state and local tools and resources that: 1) protect working youth today; and 2) equip them with the skills to support safer, healthier workplaces in the future. More information is available in the event flyer. Visit the event website to register for the conference and view the draft agenda.
Sixth Annual CONNECT Composition Conference: Supporting College Writers in the Classroom, Cape Cod Community College, Barnstable MA, Friday, May 21, 2010, 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Carol Severino, Director of the Writing Center and Writing Fellows Program at the University of Iowa. This conference will focus on the reading and writing transitional needs of students and will be valuable for high school English faculty. Registration for K-12 faculty and staff is $20 and includes lunch. Contact Tracy Charbonnier, Bridgewater State College, at (508.531.2434) for more information or to register.
Biomedicine Works PD – Free in Maine, Plus $1000 Stipend. The Foundation for Blood Research (FBR) is recruiting 15 high school biology teachers to spend five days this summer (July 11-16, 2010) on the Maine seacoast to field test a piloted BSCS-designed curriculum in their fall classrooms. This five-day conference includes CEUs, all materials, lodging, and meals at Southern Maine Community College, plus $200/day. Transportation costs are not included. Interested? Contact Jeri Erickson, project director. Teachers will be considered on first come, first served basis.
Quantitative Reasoning and College Readiness Training, Durfee High School’s Library, Fall River, MA August 2-13, 2010; 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. This is a two-week Professional Development Workshop for middle and high school teachers who wish to learn the benefits of a problem-solving QR approach. Take away tools and materials to help you incorporate QR in your courses, better engage and motivate your students, and help them retain what they learn. Course can be taken for 3 units of graduate credit through FSC. Daily stipends and free texts are available for eligible teacher participants. Math and other quantitative teachers from Fall River and New Bedford are given first priority; teachers from other school districts may register if space is available. Contact Corri Taylor, Grant Project Director from Wellesley College, for further information.
2010 Take Pride in America National Awards. Presented annually, the Take Pride in America® National Awards recognize individuals, groups and organizations for outstanding stewardship projects or awareness efforts involving federal, state and local lands and waters. For all awards categories, nominations must reflect actual, measurable accomplishments achieved through volunteer service. To be achieved through volunteer service. To be eligible, projects must be "on the ground" activities, rather than advocacy. Nominated projects and efforts must have been started and/ or completed between May 1, 2009 and April 30, 2010. This is an annual award, so plan to apply for an existing project by May 7, 2010, or start planning now for an award nomination in academic year 2010-11.
Stuck at Prom® Scholarship Contest. Here’s an amazing opportunity for fashion design students! Duck Tape® sponsors this annual contest where students create prom attire for a couple out of Duck Tape®. Once entries are submitted, judges select the top ten, and then student vote online for their favorites. Check the website for all rules and information, or get inspired by past and current entries. Deadline: June 7, 2010.
Resources of the Month
Resources of the Month
GRANT: Habitat for Humanity State Farm Service-Learning Partnership Grants. Service-Learning Partnership grants provide funds for teachers and schools to develop and implement service-learning projects in partnership with their local Habitat affiliate. For the 20010-2011 school year, teachers and local Habitat affiliates can jointly apply for a one-year grant of up to $7,000 to cover educational expenses associated with the service-learning project. Deadline: May 15
GRANT: Dollar General Literacy Foundation Invites Applications for Back to School Grant Program. The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is accepting applications for its Back to School Grant program. The program is designed to provide funding to school libraries or media centers working to implement new or expand existing literacy programs, looking to purchase new technology or equipment to support literacy initiatives, and/or looking to purchase materials or software for literacy programs. Eligible applicants must be a K-12 public, private, or charter school; provide direct service within Dollar General's 35-state market area; and must be located within twenty miles of a Dollar General store. Grant awardees will receive $5,000 maximum. Deadline: May 21.
GRANT: Toshiba Funding for STEM Activities, Grades 6 – 12. Toshiba America Foundation is currently accepting applications from teachers who are passionate about making science and mathematics more engaging for their students. Grade 6-12 applications for $5,000 or less are accepted on a rolling basis, throughout the calendar year. Grants requests of more than $5,000 are reviewed twice a year. Applications for grants of more than $5,000 are due August 2, 2010. Funding provides for classroom equipment. Check the Foundation’s website for examples of successful applicant proposals.
PUBLICATION: Strengthening the Youth Development/After-School Workforce. This brief report summarizes what is known about youth workers, why investments in this workforce matter, and what funders (private and public) can do to spark and support these investments. The goal is to support discussions about how focused attention on workforce development can be a part of funders’ individual and collective efforts to strengthen and expand after-school and youth development programs and systems.
PUBLICATION: Cutting Cost, Keeping Quality: Financing Strategies for Youth-Serving Organizations in a Difficult Economy. And now for some timely summer reading! This brief developed by Eric Keller of The Finance Project, highlights three effective financing strategies that successful youth-serving organizations are using to maintain quality services despite difficult economic times. The brief also provides examples of how organizations have implemented these strategies and offers tips to help leaders consider how best to adapt these strategies to their unique context.
Be on the lookout in early May for regional articulations for the following CVTE Chapter 74 programs: Design and Visual Communications, Electronics, Electricity, Engineering Technology, Information Support Services & Networking, Machine Tool Technology and Marine Service Technology. This will conclude the regional articulations developed in the 2009-2010 academic year; more may follow next year.
Finally, the Statewide Articulation Committee, of which BCC President Sbrega is a member, is working on creating a first-ever statewide articulation that will provide CAD credit to students in Drafting, and perhaps Engineering Technology program. To accomplish this, the Committee must examine ways to norm the articulation agreement template for all approved Chapter 74 programs and community colleges, as well a way to communicate the articulated credit consistently upon postsecondary admission. No small feat! I will continue to keep you updated on their progress.