“After my husband and I divorced, I needed to go back to work.  But after being out of the workforce for many years, I wasn’t sure what I’d be able to do and I felt very nervous about re-entering the working world.  A friend suggested I go to Action Read to check out the free courses offered to see if there was anything that could help build my skills and better prepare me. 

I was able to get a spot in the Cash Register training course, which helped me develop cash handling and customer service skills.  I learned how to use a basic cash register system and do things like count money and make change.  But it also helped build my confidence and help me overcome some of the feelings I had about going back to work.  For the first time in a while, I believed that I could do this on my own.

Within weeks of completing the course, I was able to secure employment at a local grocery store.  I’ve been working now for over 2 years, and am successfully living on my own.  This course helped change my life for the better and I can’t thank Action Read enough for their help.” – Kate

Action Read Literacy Centre, a United Way funded agency, offers many employability programs for disadvantaged adults, including the cash register training program, that have a literacy and basic skill component – GED programs (high school equivalency for people with workplace goals), soft skill development, goal setting, basic computers, resume and cover letter workshops, and financial literacy.  They work closely with other local agencies to make sure that they are filling an identified need in the community that is not already being met by another program or service.

Many of Action Read’s clients have employment barriers of some kind or another – skill gaps, low confidence, time out of the workplace, experience gaps, social skill challenges.  “It is easy in our society to overlook the barriers we see with our clients as they aren’t always obvious or ‘trendy’, but these barriers affect our client’s lives in very real ways”, says Mira Clarke, Executive Director, Action Read.

The Cash Register Training Course is offered free of charge for any individual who wishes to improve his or her cash handling and customer service skills. The 18-hour course teaches individuals basic financial calculation and technology skills such as counting money and making change, reading documents, as well as how to use a basic cash register and point-of-sale system. Learners are also taught customer service skills like communicating and presenting oneself in a professional manner, and effective conflict resolution.

Many of the learners who complete the training obtain jobs as an outcome – in fact, 96% of participants who have completed the course reported they felt that it contributed in some way to helping them achieve their employment goals. For a lot of people it’s the confidence they gain from the experience – they see that they are perfectly capable of learning new things and interacting well in unfamiliar situations.  They also feel encouraged by being in an upbeat and supportive environment, with other people who are making positive changes in their lives and working through their barriers.  “It is so much more than the ability to use a cash register”, said Mira.

Through funding from United Way, Action Read is able to offer this course regularly to clients.  A Leadership Donation of $1000 helps subsidize the cost of the course for 8 learners, which includes intake, assessments and ongoing support outside of the class.  If you ever ask yourself what your leadership donation looks like, it’s Kate and 7 other disadvantaged adults in our community who now have the skills to make a better life for themselves.  As a leadership donor, you truly are helping to change lives.