You may have heard about Tech Impact’s newest workforce development program, CXWorks. If you haven’t – CXWorks is an eight-week development program that offers free job training to young adults in the Las Vegas community who are ready to start their career in mastering the customer experience. Students immerse themselves in the skills and knowledge required to be a customer service professional and graduate ready for diverse call center positions. CXWorks is taught at the Historic Westside School (the same location as ITWorks Las Vegas) in our new Tech Impact Community Center in partnership with Barclays. Stephanie’s story is the first in a five-part interview series of the inaugural CXWorks class. Read on to learn more about Stephanie!
CXWorks: What about the customer experience industry piqued your interest in starting a career in that field?
Stephanie: I have been driving a forklift for about eight years, and I got tired of the factory work. It’s easy work, but it doesn’t pay very well nor offer many benefits. I wanted to try something new that would be a career; not just a job. And, as it turns out, I just so happened to find it to be something that I really enjoyed.
CXW: How did you hear about the CXWorks program? What made you decide to apply?
S: I was looking for jobs on Craigslist when I saw the CXWorks ad. The jobs were in fields I did not have much experience, but those that I thought might be interesting for me as a possible career. I had been intrigued by the call center industry, but I wasn’t too sure if it was something I could do. I figured if I took the time to go through CXWorks, it would help me determine if it was actually something I would like to pursue. So it made a lot of sense to apply!
CXW: You are now an official graduate of the pilot CXWorks class. Congrats! Reflecting on your eight weeks in the program, what was the biggest challenge you faced? Do you have a favorite moment or memory that epitomizes your experience?
S: The biggest challenge that I faced was during the role-play activities. It was really hard for me to show empathy and sincerity in a situation that I knew was not real. I was really bad at them, and just couldn’t get into character! But, my favorite moment just happens to be when I overcame that challenge during our mini-internship at Three Square. I was presented with a real customer service opportunity and I was able to demonstrate everything I had learned in class. I was dealing with an angry customer on the phone, and I utilized my new skills to de-escalate the situation by helping her find a food pantry that was close to her. I empathized with her as I learned that she had recently become unemployed, which was a situation I could relate to. By the time the call was over, she was no longer angry and even thanked me! It was a great culmination of everything I had learned and practiced!
CXW: Tell us a little bit about the relationship(s) you developed with your peers and the CXWorks/Tech Impact staff.
S: My classmates are awesome! We all have completely different personalities, but we were able to get to know each other really well and watch each other grow and develop. My instructor, Brianna, is an amazing teacher! She made learning really fun, and challenged us constantly by pushing us out of our comfort zones each and every day. I had always dreaded talking in front of people previously, but she pushed me to master that skill. The rest of the CXWorks and Tech Impact staff always treated me more as a colleague than a student – which really made me feel good. I felt as though I could always approach any of them with any needs or challenges.
CXW: Now that you have graduated, what’s next for you? Any employment opportunities that have presented themselves to you?
S: So far, a couple of opportunities have presented themselves! I’ve been able to interview for a few of them. I am just waiting to see what the future holds, and I’m eager to continue my education by taking some IT classes.
CXW: What is your ultimate career goal(s)? Where do you want to be in the next year or two? 10-15 years?
S: Hopefully soon I will have my career started in the Customer Service industry. I would like to work my way up to a Team Lead or Supervisor position within the next year or two; and eventually I’d like to be a Manager. I plan on working full time while also attending classes to further my education. From there – I’ll just have to wait and see what happens and where my skills and experience leads me!
CXW: What are your hopes for the future of CXWorks in Las Vegas? What do you think it can accomplish for the customer service industry?
S: I hope that CXWorks will continue to grow and expand, the program is an amazing way to learn new skills and ways to handle all types of situations and people. I think that it can and will accomplish great things for the call center industry, I actually think that this program should be a requirement for people first getting into the call center industry because it literally prepares you and teaches you things most employers don’t teach you like soft skills and about different personality types and how to be able to relate to each one while at the same time providing hands on training that prepares us for future employment.
CXW: Many entry-level customer service/experience positions do not require previous experience. What value does training like CXWorks bring to your resume? Are there added benefits of being able to say you completed a program like this?
S: I think the value shows in me taking the time to further my education, and learn skills that I will need in this industry. It gives me an edge compared to other entry-level employees. One of the benefits to completing the program is that employers who are familiar with it will know that I have had weeks of training already, and will require less time to be up-and-running successfully. Another benefit is that I got to network with CEOs and HR professionals of the major call centers here in Las Vegas, and I had the opportunity to tour many of the locations during our Friday Sessions. Now, I am a several steps ahead of other entry-level professionals who are applying for the same jobs that I am.
CXW: What has been the impact of CXWorks in your life?
S: Well, during the course of this program, I gained a lot of self-confidence and I was finally able to figure out what I want to accomplish in my professional life. I was able to sit down and map out my goals to see how I can reach those goals. Some of those include continuing my education, attaining a job that will support me and my daughters, financial stability, purchasing my own home and a car that is younger than me!
CXW: Anything else we should know?
S: I think that the CXWorks staff did a great job of matching me with the perfect mentor! She is amazing, and we are planning to stay in touch now that the program is over so I imagine she will be a mentor for life. The mentors are just another added benefit of this program that sets it apart from other opportunities! I am so grateful for her. I hope that one day I can come back to CXWorks to serve as a mentor, or volunteer with the class to tell them about what the program has done for me! Some people in our class decided they had better things to do with their time and didn’t finish the program. I want to let people know that it’s worth each and every second!
Learn more about CXWorks and apply today: