Workplace training

Our program combines workplace training with community service. Participants benefit from the training and job experience they receive, and the community benefits from the help they provide.

Who participates?

Participants in the South Whidbey Commons workplace training program include:

  • Middle and high school students, some of whom choose to receive school credit for the training they receive.
  • Adults and retirees, who enjoy mentoring teen participants.
  • Newcomers, who find that volunteering helps them meet members of the community.
  • People who have taken time off to raise children and want to gain current experience before reentering the workforce.

The program empowers participants by teaching customer service in a retail business, providing barista training, and imparting proper food handling skills—all of which improves participants’ self-esteem, employability, and career prospects. Participants learn by serving others and gain experience that makes them better candidates for further education and employment.

Not all participants have employability in mind, however. Retirees, newcomers, and empty nesters volunteer to invest themselves in their community, mentor teens, and meet new people.

“I’m thankful for the Commons because of the community it gave me. It really helped me to blossom into the person I wanted to be. For the first time, I felt like I belonged somewhere, and I’ll always treasure those memories. It gave me a haven from a bad home life, so that I never wanted to leave! I’m thankful for the healthy environment of the Commons. Although I never totally confided about it, the Commons changed my life.”

Katy, volunteer barista

What do participants learn?

Our workplace training program is based on National Workforce Skill Standards established by the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Education. These fundamental criteria represent the skills, attributes, and characteristics that employers look for when hiring and promoting workers. The program includes:

Training in the Coffeehouse Bookstore that encompasses:

  • Preparing food and beverages in a safe and sanitary way.
  • Improving sales through marketing
  • Mastering technology, such as the point of sale system and tools, such as the espresso machine.
  • Developing thinking skills such as creative thinking, decision making, problem-solving and reasoning.
  • Applying basic skills such as reading, writing, mathematics, listening, and speaking.
  • Understanding systems management in the workplace.
  • Processing information, including acquiring, evaluating, organizing, maintaining, and interpreting  information.
  • Enhancing personal qualities such as responsibility, self-esteem, social skills, self-management, integrity, and honesty.
  • Developing interpersonal skills, such as being part of a team, teaching others, serving customers, exercising leadership, making decisions, communicating, and working with cultural diversity.

A practicum (unpaid) in the Coffeehouse Bookstore, where participants put their training into practice. Trainees learn the value of community service through their work for the nonprofit organization.

We encourage participants to provide 90 hours of service, which includes the training and practicum period. But many choose to serve longer.

To participate in the Workplace Training program or to volunteer at the Commons, please fill out and bring in this application. Orientation takes place weekly and training is ongoing.