Southwest

Pilot Program

Center Upgrades Retail Sales Force.

Coalition of industry, community and government officials is hoping a new training center will help retail employees become skilled professionals.

The Retail Skills Center, a three-year pilot project that opened in June, is a one-stop recruitment, assessment and training facility for retail sales associates and retailers in Philadelphia's King of Prussia Complex. Eventually, the services will be offered to businesses throughout the region.

Store owners can send employees to the center for upgrading skills or recruit through the center, which assesses applicants and refers successful candidates to merchants.

The self-paced course teaches customer service, teamwork, functional math, written and oral communications, visual merchandising, inventory control, theft prevention and more. Those completing the training receive a lapel pin, which indicates to store owners that an individual has met the National Retail Institute standards.

Although the project is currently limited to the King of Prussia Complex, plans are underway to duplicate the center in other locations nationwide.

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This article was originally published in the September 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Southwest.

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