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Service business employees get trained about Vegas

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By David Giuliani

If an organization has its way, a store clerk or a restaurant waitress will have enough information about Las Vegas to interest tourists in visiting attractions around the area.

The New Mexico Workforce Connection, which is a part of SER Jobs for Progress, has launched a program called Pro-Active Host, which provides training in customer service designed with local employees in mind.

Sharon Caballero, executive director of the Las Vegas-San Miguel Economic Development Corporation, said when tourists ask residents about what there is to do or see in the area, the answer sometimes is “nothing.”

“There’s a ton of stuff to do around here,” she said.

As such, Workforce Connection is training employees such as wait staff, clerks, merchants and managers about what exactly Las Vegas has to offer tourists.

“We want to get everyone trained, so there’s a positive attitude. That will make a difference in the community,” Caballero said.

Participants take six two-hour classes, with the last one being a bus tour around the area.

The first tour took place Wednesday and included places such as United World College, the Rough Rider Museum, Storrie Lake and the Las Vegas Wildlife Refuge.

Employees must complete 100 percent of the training to be certified as a Pro-Active Host. If a session is missed, an employee can make it up in the next series of classes.

A business can be certified as a Pro-Active Host if 70 percent of its front-desk employees graduate from the course.

The program is expected to receive up to $1,200 from the city Lodgers Tax Board to provide the tours.

“Employers are paid their wages while they’re being trained,” said Carole Gonynor, a business consultant with the Workforce Connection.

She said the Las Vegas-San Miguel Chamber of Commerce has helped with advertising the program and will review it at the end and see if it needs to find a way to continue the program.

Caballero called the training an “important step.”

“This helps come up with a picture of the community, so we can tell the same story,” she said. “People will stay longer and spend their dollars here.”