Kirkwood program helps train for customer service positions

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -- The Customer Service Professionals Certificate at Kirkwood Community College has teamed up with 11 eastern Iowa businesses.

It is part of an effort to train qualified candidates for the growing number of open customer service positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be more than 3,300 open customer service jobs available locally.

At a panel discussion held at Iowa Works in Cedar Rapids, some business partners said they struggle to find qualified applicants to fill their positions. Some jobs include customer service call centers or tech support positions.

“There is a high demand in the region for customer service professionals," Erin Brokel, one of the program's coordinators at Kirkwood, said. "Really, customer service roles infiltrate all sectors and industries. It's really trying to prepare individuals for those roles."

Wages for these types of job start at around $16 per hour. The certificate does not mean an employee would earn a higher wage, but it helps prove to a potential employer the candidate is ready to work.

“As recruiters and HR professionals are looking at resumes coming in, it’s really trying to get you to the top of the pile. It's trying to get you to stand out and the positions available in customer service are really great base pay,” said Brokle.

The next program session starts on September 9 at Kirkwood Community College.

More information can be found on the Kirkwood website or through Iowa WORKS.