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St. Peter's Episcopal Church to train local tourism workers

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Mon, Mar 27th 2017 11:05 am
Tourism training veteran Jamie Giddens, left, explains the advantages of the St. Peter's Episcopal Church hospitality and service industry training program to Kallie Castetter, co-owner and general manager of the Third Street Retreat, Eatery & Pub in downtown Niagara Falls.
Tourism training veteran Jamie Giddens, left, explains the advantages of the St. Peter's Episcopal Church hospitality and service industry training program to Kallie Castetter, co-owner and general manager of the Third Street Retreat, Eatery & Pub in downtown Niagara Falls.

"Everybody makes a big deal about locally sourced food and crafts," Jamie Giddens says with a slight roll of her eyes. "They need to be thinking about locally sourced labor."

​Giddens knows what she is talking about. A veteran of seasonal tourist economies in the Great Smoky Mountains, and with over 15 years in the service industry, she knows all the arguments.

"Employers say locals don't have the soft skills. Locals say employers pass them up for foreign students. Meanwhile, visitors need local information and local people need jobs. We can fix this," she says.

As part of the fix, Giddens is the project director for a unique 40-hour hospitality and service industry training program. The project is a ministry of St. Peter's Episcopal Church at 140 Rainbow Blvd., in downtown Niagara Falls.

"The biblical prophets understood justice and human dignity come with a job," said the Rev. Dr. Howard Whitaker of St. Peter's. "There are other job fairs and programs out there, but we wanted to target people who have not been able to get or hold a job for a while, and remove obstacles at a more basic level."

"Locally sourced labor is just as essential to a healthy tourist economy as the food, art and attractions those employees will be distributing to the public," said Giddens. "People are what truly make the difference in facilitating the great customer experience we are all after."

The St. Peter's program will concentrate on basic customer service skills, employer relationships and the challenges of seasonal employment, as well as application, resume and interview skills.

"There will be lots of 'real-world' training situations candidates will have to address, including mock interviews and industry-specific customer service walk-throughs," Giddens says. "They are going to know their stuff when they graduate."

"Employers are very interested and have guaranteed our candidates interviews," she adds.

The program is being offered free of charge. Interested candidates and employers should contact Giddens by phone or text directly at 716-286-5466 or by email at [email protected].

Details can be found in the events section at StPetersNiagaraFalls.org.

Click HERE to download a flier with additional information (PDF).

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