Go-Go Pops offers employment coaching
By Alison Rooney
Prompted by the focus, in recent weeks, on the collective concern over heroin issues currently plaguing this region, Lynn Miller, co-owner with her husband Greg of Go-Go Pops/Go-Go Joe, will host a series of free employment coaching workshops for teens aged 14 to 18.
Beginning Tuesday, March 4, these workshops will be held on successive Tuesdays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at their store at 64 Main St., Cold Spring. The sessions are designed to be user-friendly, open-ended and encouraging, i.e. one can come to just one, some, or all; if someone misses the first one, they are welcome to start at the second, etc. Some of the material covered will be repeated during one or more of the other sessions, but continued practice is a good thing, according to Miller.
Miller has been thinking of offering something like this for several years now, based on both her experience as a Main Street employer, seeing “kids shoot themselves in the foot when they walk in the store” doing every possible thing wrong when asking about employment as well as her recollection from her own youth that “if kids don’t have things to do they will find the most easily accessible way to rebel, and that’s drugs. This is my attempt at trying to be proactive.”
By Miller’s published description: “The Teen Employment Series aims to assist teens in applying for, obtaining and maintaining paid employment with businesses in Philipstown. Subjects covered will include, but are not limited to: approaching potential employers, identifying possible workplaces, the application process, useful interpersonal skills, employer expectations, and employer-employee communication among many others.
Participants will also have the opportunity to meet with other Cold Spring and Philipstown business owners to gain their perspective, network and explore future employment opportunities.” Leonora Burton of The Country Goose and Tara Caroll of Old Souls are two who have already volunteered to come and share their expertise with the teens.
Miller calls this “a great opportunity for our local youth who are just entering the workforce to learn skills necessary to landing and maintaining their first jobs. The workshop format will include practice interviews, role-playing, Q-and-A, and networking and is designed to be fun and engaging for all.” Much of it will be getting them to “see things from an employer’s perspective: what makes a good employee, why they are hiring you and how to think about making yourself valuable,” Miller says.
Right off the bat, one piece of advice Miller offers is for kids to “not walk in cold. Write down three things you like to do, thinking about the saying ‘Do what you love, the money will follow,’ then figure out where you might be able to do it. Learn a little about the business before you go in.” Kids should be thinking beyond just what the business does, but should consider if they are a “people person” who will be comfortable constantly interacting with the public, or if a production or office position might suit their temperament better and give them more chances of advancement.
Walking in the door basics like making eye contact, introducing themselves before asking about a possible job and practicing a firm handshake will be gone over, and so will more subtle things such as remembering that the employee is hiring “not just to give you a job, but because they need help in their business,” says Miller, adding that they need to understand that “it takes about 90 days to get a person fully trained, so that employer is making an investment in you.” There will be discussion on active versus passive job-seeking and why it is not OK to inquire about job openings by phone unless you have been instructed to do so.
“Kids become shy because adults are always scrutinizing them,” Miller said. “We as adults expect them to pick up so many things on their own, but they don’t. On top of everything else, they’re mystified by the application itself, and things like I-9 [Employment Eligibility Verification Form] and 1099 forms, which look scary to them, but are simply bureaucratic. That’s part of what these workshops are about.”
Teens (preferably not their parents) should call 845-809-5600 or stop by Go-Go Pops to sign up for the workshop series as space is limited. Location may change if more space is necessary. Business owners and other interested organizations are also encouraged to participate. For more information, call 845-809-5600 or 914-629-7412 or email [email protected]