Devereux Georgia students acquire valuable job skills through national certification programs
“I’ve learned proper food handling procedures, how to treat customers and how to be professional on the job.”
High school students at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Georgia are becoming work-ready by acquiring valuable job and life skills through two national certification programs: ServSafe and Guest Service Gold.
ServSafe, offered through the National Restaurant Association, is a food safety certification program, while Guest Service Gold, offered through the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute, is a hospitality and tourism certification program.
“I am extremely passionate about helping students transition from school to work, and build skills that will transfer to the real world,” said Devereux Georgia Teacher Nadolyn Smith. “Our ServSafe and Guest Service Gold certification programs are both approximately six weeks long. At the conclusion of each program, our students have the opportunity to test their knowledge and take a certification exam.”
Devereux Vice President of Operations Gwen Skinner noted, “Students who participate in these programs are acquiring the skills needed to pursue jobs in the food service and hospitality industries. If they pass their certification exam, they can add that to their resume, giving them the confidence to say, ‘I can do this.’”
Building food safety skills
The ServSafe program teaches students about basic food safety; personal hygiene; cross-contamination and allergens; time and temperature; and cleaning and sanitation.
“If you walk into any restaurant, you will see ServSafe certificates hanging on the wall because managers and employees all have to be certified,” Smith explained. “With our course, we incorporate hands-on learning into our lessons. Once a week, students prepare an item from a menu, applying ServSafe principles throughout their cooking demonstration. We discuss the importance of hand-washing and wearing gloves and hair nets. In addition, students learn how long a food item can be left out before it is unsafe to eat, as well as why you should always prepare meat in separate area of the kitchen, away from vegetables and other ready-to-eat foods.”
Providing quality customer service
Students who participate in the Guest Service Gold program receive training on customer service elements, including recovery, personalization, knowledge, passion, commitment, inclusion and personality.
“The American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute, which provides training for national hotel chains, supplies the curriculum,” Smith shared. “Our students learn how to respond to a customer who may be angry by listening and remaining calm. If a student is particularly interested in something, they learn how to use their interests to enhance the overall customer experience. The curriculum also discusses the importance of being knowledgeable about your job. For example, if you work at a home improvement store, you need to know where the paintbrushes are located.”
Learning valuable lessons
Students are learning valuable lessons through ServSafe and Guest Service Gold. Look below to find out some their biggest takeaways from the programs.
“I’ve learned how to treat people, work with different kinds of people and stay safe while I’m in the kitchen.”
“The programs are preparing me for when I leave Devereux. I’ve learned how to make people feel welcome and how to safely handle food.”
“I’m learning lots of new things, like how to work at a real job.”
Smith added, “Next year, my goal is to provide an OSHA 10 certification program, which will cover basic safety and health information. With these programs, we are preparing our students for the real world and setting them up for success.”
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