Employees, job-seekers get a chance to be the B.E.S.T.

September 1, 2011 by

Sister Jan McCormick of Chapman, Kan., answers a question during the B.E.S.T. session today at Neighbor to Neighbor in downtown Concordia.

The first batch of Concordia’s B.E.S.T. employees will complete their two-day training program Friday.

The “Basic Employability Skills Training” — or B.E.S.T. — program was offered free of charge at Neighbor to Neighbor, and sponsored by Neighborhood Initiatives Inc., a new office of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia. Eight women and one man enrolled in the series of eight classes that cover everything from punctuality and dependability to customer service and workplace ethics. Participants receive a certificate of completion for each class.

(From left) Sisters Jan McCormick, Pat McLennon and Ramona Medina chat while Cheryl Lyn Higgins sets out lunch for the B.E.S.T. participants today at Neighbor to Neighbor.

The sisters who staff Neighbor to Neighbor provided child care and lunch — both at no charge — to the B.E.S.T. participants.

“This is about allowing your employees to get better, and about finding people who have the basic skills you need,” said Cheryl Lyn Higgins, coordinator for Neighborhood Initiatives. Higgins was instrumental in creating B.E.S.T. when she was president and CEO of the Junction City Area Chamber of Commerce.

The program is now offered statewide by the Kansas Department of Commerce through Kansas Works, but Higgins was able to arrange to offer it free in Concordia because one of the Sisters of St. Joseph was trained to teach it when she worked for the Commerce Department. Sister Jan McCormick of Chapman, Kan., is leading the sessions at Neighbor to Neighbor today and Friday.

Higgins hosted a lunch for employers in May to tell them about the B.E.S.T. program and gauge local interest. Several employers at that lunch said that the completion certificates could be a valuable tool in screening potential workers, while employees and job-seekers alike could benefit from the basic skills offered.

Higgins and McCormick hope to schedule another B.E.S.T. session in the near future. Interested employers or job-seekers can contact Higgins for information at 243-2113, ext. 1215, or at clhiggins@csjkansas.org.

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