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Riverhead Chamber and Community College Survey Workforce Development

In response to a recent survey conducted by the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce and Suffolk County Community College – Eastern Campus, a symposium entitled, “Empowering Your Employees to Reflect Your Business Image” will take place ...

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Riverhead, NY - May 29th, 2013 - In response to a recent survey conducted by the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce and Suffolk County Community College – Eastern Campus, a symposium entitled, “Empowering Your Employees to Reflect Your Business Image” will take place on Thursday, June 13, 2013 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Suffolk County Community College’s Culinary Arts & Hospitality Center located at 20 East Main Street in Riverhead.  A panel of experts representing major sectors of east end businesses will discuss what image they expect their employees to project, how their employees sell their business and what customer loyalty means to them.  Panelists include Bryan DeLuca of Hyatt Place East End and Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center, Kristen Frohnhoefer of Seatow International, Juan Micieli-Martinez of Martha Clara Vineyards, Bob Spiotta of the Suffolk Theater, Dennis McDermott of the Riverhead Project and facilitated by Dave Bergen, the College’s Associate Dean for Educational Resources.

Various break-out sessions will ensue on such topics as, Netiquette -Internet, Email, & Social Media Etiquette – Speaker: Yvonne Lieblein; Cultural Competence and Transforming Transactions – Speaker: Prof. James W. Banks, LCSW-R, CCH, Collegewide Coordinator of Multicultural Affairs, SCCC; Customer No-Nos (diffusing difficult situations before they occur) – Speaker: Prof. Tim McHeffey,SCCC; and for business owners – SUNY Workforce Training Grants – Speaker: Maureen Arma, LCSW, Training Project Manager, Workforce & Economic Development, SCCC.

Employers are asked to encourage their employees to attend this FREE event.  Attendees will not only leave with an added skill set, but will receive a certificate of completion from Suffolk County Community College which they can use on their resumes.  Each attendee will receive a gift bag provided by Chamber members and includes valuable information on SUNY grants that are currently available. Pre-registration is required and can be done at

The Riverhead Chamber of Commerce working with Suffolk County Community College conducted a survey, assisted with distribution by east end Chambers of Commerce, on the workforce needs of east end employers.

The aim of the survey was to gain knowledge of any unmet workforce needs experienced by employers and how the College and Chambers of Commerce can assist local businesses in providing training initiatives.  A recap of the survey is as follows:

•The results of the survey showed that the skills identified as being in short supply during recruiting efforts were those related to customer service. Customer Service was the most frequent employment category recruited for in the past 12 months.  Employers indicated that the biggest gap in workplace “softskills” was in communication/interpersonal skills, and customer service skills.

•The training topics that employers felt would be most valuable for their employees were diversity training followed closely by ESL (English as a Second Language).  The majority of staff training is currently done in house/on the job.

•Eighty-two  percent of respondents felt that a standardized skills training program and certification that demonstrates a worker’s aptitude and employability would be very useful, useful or somewhat useful to their recruiting efforts.  

•The top three reasons applicants are not selected for an available position are 1- Lack of Experience; 2 – Lack of Technical Skills; and 3 – Poor Attitude.  When asked what measure their business is taking to address unmet skill needs, 44% of respondents replied – “None at the current time.”

The goal of the symposium, according to Dr. Evon Walters, Campus Executive Dean, “is for attendees to leave with new strategies that can be applied in the work place in regard to customer service.”  For the College and the Chamber, the response to the symposium and the questionnaire completed at its conclusion, will be valuable in meeting the workforce development needs of local businesses.

Professor James W. Banks is currently functioning as The College wide Coordinator of Multicultural Affairs of Suffolk County Community College Eastern Campus, where he also teaches.  As Coordinator his responsibilities include the college wide coordination of diversity initiatives, including conducting Cultural Competency Workshops, Teaching and Learning Center Workshops for Faculty, Professional Development for staff, and recruitment and retention energies.  Among his other responsibilities, are sensitizing faculty and students to issues of Diversity and Multiculturalism, oversight of Interns, creation of clubs focused on Diversity, and Administrative Advisor to The Student Veterans Association.  As Associate Professor of Health Careers, Professor Banks has taught such classes as, Principles of Interviewing, Introduction to Psychology, Group Dynamics, Sociology, College Seminar. As an Adjunct Professor at Dowling College he’s taught Social Work, Introduction to Social Welfare, Social Work Colloquium, and Social Welfare Policy.  Professor Banks has conducted trainings at Associations and Businesses from Montreal to Florida, Buffalo to New Orleans and New York to California and ends his sessions and classes with the statement, “Go out and be Loving”.

Yvonne Lieblein has worked in brand management and communications since 1993.  She founded liebleinassociates LLC in 2003 after working with Hasbro Games and the National SCRABBLE Association for seven years as senior account executive and director of both the National School SCRABBLE and Literacy Volunteers of America (ProLiteracy Worldwide) Fundraising Programs.  Yvonne has developed and executed inventive and effective marketing plans for a variety of clients and has also successfully generated both national and local media coverage.  She inspires the liebleinassociates team and their clients to achieve measurable results by approaching each initiative with creativity, ingenuity and a desire to exceed all expectations.

Tim McHeffey brings over thirty years of being on the daily-firing-line of customer service issues, most of it at Swezey's Department Stores.  McHeffey also wrote and presented seminars for Skill-Path and Dun and Bradstreet across the country, having trained thousands of managers.  His publications include JUGGLING THE JOURNEY... THIRTY FIVE KEYS TO EFFECTIVE LIVING; it was based on this that Dun and Bradstreet rolled out "Self Management" in California, a seminar about balancing work and home.  MAD TO GLAD is used in high school and college classrooms across America to help teach how to effectively communicate with the public for excellent customer service (MARK-ED/MBA Research, Ohio, 2005).  MAINTAINING THE STORE... KEEPING UP APPEARANCES is a book on store merchandising and display; used in training programs at Pottery Barn, Hold Everything, and Williams-Sonoma (Crisp/Thompson Learning, California, 2003).  SOLVING STICKY PEOPLE PROBLEMS WITH EMPLOYEES came out last January, (published by Morgan James, NY, NY).  Tim is a Business professor at Suffolk, Eastern Campus, and resides in Center Moriches, NY.



For More Information, Please Contact:
Mary Hughes