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Community volunteer Daniel Ross, 13, learns how tardiness can upset an entire working operation. Ross took on the role of the cashier, who had to double as a bagger when a co-worker came in late. Teacher Erin Sullivan, far left, and student Cathryn Monzat, 14, act like angry customers. Ross said he understood that he should always be on time.
Community volunteer Daniel Ross, 13, learns how tardiness can upset an entire working operation. Ross took on the role of the cashier, who had to double as a bagger when a co-worker came in late. Teacher Erin Sullivan, far left, and student Cathryn Monzat, 14, act like angry customers. Ross said he understood that he should always be on time. (Jessica Inigo / S&S)

DARMSTADT, Germany — Young workers usually have to learn their work etiquette the hard way — through trial and error.

To keep new employees from having their heads bitten off, the Darmstadt and Babenhausen communities are teaching teens in the Installation Management Agency-Europe Summer Hire program the importance of professionalism.

The six-week Job Ready course, which is going on through mid-August, teaches first-time employees key elements of the working world. Topics include proper dress attire, making career decisions, demonstrating a positive attitude, the importance of punctuality, and tips for writing an application and résumé.

Six instructors rotate between the Babenhausen and Darmstadt Child and Youth Services Liaison, Education and Outreach Services (CLEOS) one day a week to help Summer Hire teens and any volunteers in the community improve work skills.

Classes run from 9 a.m. to noon during workdays. Supervisors have releasing authority for employee training.

Though only in its second week in Darmstadt, teachers and students already are seeing a difference in using some of these professional development techniques in their work environment.

“When you’re late, it really hurts the whole business you’re working for. It’s like a chain reaction,” said community volunteer Daniel Ross, 13, who just finished role-playing a position where he was a cashier who had to be the brunt of angry customers because the bagger showed up late for work.

Erin Sullivan, training and curriculum specialist for School Age Services, taught a class on being punctual at the CLEOS center on Lincoln Village in Darmstadt. She said the young workers seemed interested in receiving as much knowledge as possible.

“This really gives them a better understanding of what’s expected of them,” Sullivan said. “It’s hard at that young age when they have not received any training, and employees don’t have the skills to train these young workers about professionalism nicely.

“The whole thing is about giving them skills to go out to the workforce prepared.”

Fabienne Surpris, 17, said the skills she learned in the class already are helping her better interact with employees she works with at the CLEOS center.

“I like working with people and I want to be professional, so this class really helps. It’s fun,” she said.

Classes are open to any young employee in the community. Workers in the Summer Hire program must get permission from their supervisors to be released for the class. Then, applications must be filled out and returned to the CLEOS center.

For more information, call Diane Steele at DSN 348-7444 or 06151-69-7444.

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