Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Contact Centers of America, Valencia Community College Partner on Certification

September 21, 2009

There is a logical affinity between colleges and high quality contact centers. Colleges provide a constant flow of bright, multimedia-adept, savvy and motivated employees: who need to pay for their education. Contact centers supply that opportunity to work, putting their skills to work in a social atmosphere.

Contact Centers of America has made that affinity work by having a contact center set up at the Valencia Community College in Orlando, Fla. VCC provides CCA and its clients a steady stream of workforce availability, with 18,000 students on VCC’s west campus. For the students, the benefits include convenience of walking to work on campus at the CCA location and a work schedule that can fit within their class schedule i.e. two-to-three hour shifts.
Now both the CAA and the VCC have taken this affinity to the next level with plans to expand and enhance the existing customer service and technical support certification program of the Associates Degree in Science at VCC. CCA utilizes students as a part of their contact center workforce to provide real world-experience to students who are interested in a particular industry in the student’s selected field of study, such as hospitality, medical, technology, and marketing. With more interactions taking place virtually it is key for today’s and tomorrow’s sales, marketing, support, and yes medical staff to know to communicate effectively to customers, clients, and partners via phone and online.
With the new CCA-VCC program, students gain invaluable hands-on experience, enabling them to develop their resumes prior to graduation. The contact center assignments are aligned with students’ majors so they can work within their selected fields prior to graduation, which is a phenomenal advantage in the current job market. There is job placement where students can continue to work at CCA or CCA can place the individuals within clients’ businesses.
Students view contact center positions as high value, unlike many contact center employees, and are excited about being contact center staff, reports CCA and VCC executives.  These students are interested and proud to provide the highest level of customer service and support.  With the age of VCC students 21 to 28 years old, and approximately 80 percent of the students employed, CCA is an additional avenue in which the students can learn skills, gain experience and launch their careers.
CCA will work with VCC college faculty and staff to support the ongoing academic excellence of the college, as well as introduce faculty and students to new technologies and direct contact center experience. Additional details are forthcoming about curriculum development and approved courses for student instruction within a contact center program of study, which will augment the technical support and customer service coursework currently offered online. 
 “CCA employs students in areas conducive to the students’ specific majors for on the job training, versus simply curriculum which is tied to a particular field of study, such as contact centers,” says Sanford C. Shugart, Ph.D., president of Valencia Community College. “VCC students gain direct skills and experience related to the career path which they are exploring. CCA’s workforce model is a win-win-win for the VCC, our students and for CCA’s clients.”
“Dr. Shugart is a visionary in education and believes the role of Valencia Community College is to impart useful and usable information and skills to the students, not just book learning,” says Joe Jacoboni, president, CEO and founder of CCA.  “Through the development and implementation of the VCC / CCA partnership, students gain valuable experience prior to graduation to assist them in leveraging their learned skills into a career.”

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Brendan B. Read is ContactCenterSolutions’s Senior Contributing Editor. To read more of Brendan’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison