LARE Institute Offers Free Customer Service Certification

American Training President and CEO Tom Connors poses with Guests Mark Nixon and Linda Hinckley at the organization’s second annual Celebrate Good Times Gala held May 16 at Andover Country Club. Hinckley was among the honorees recognized at the event, awarded for her lengthy employment at Harrison’s Roast Beef in North Andover.  Photo by Felix Khut.
American Training President, CEO Tom Connors with Guests Mark Nixon and Linda Hinckley at the organization’s annual Celebrate Good Times Gala.

LARE Institute offering free Customer Service Certification training and assessment for qualified Lawrence residents, as made possible through Santander Foundation grant.

Opportunity is knocking at the doors of Lawrence residents looking to get back to work or advance in their careers.

LARE Institute, a branch of American Training, is now offering National Professional Certifications in Customer Service, at no cost, to qualifying Lawrence residents, as made possible through a grant awarded to the school by the Santander Foundation.

After searching for a way to serve the community, LARE’s grant coordinator Carol Sholik applied for the Santander Foundation’s Community Investment and Economic Development Priority Grant with the help of Carole Giordano, licensing coordinator.

“We’ve been a part of this community for over thirty years and when we see a need, we do what we can to help meet that need. We know there are community members out there who want to get back to work and need assistance doing so,” said Giordano, “so we decided to offer the Customer Service Certification.”

Santander team members presented grant checks to several community organizations on Wednesday, July 16 at their Andover location, awarding $5,400 to LARE Institute.

“The grant will allow us to provide training to members of our community who are looking to get back to work or leverage their earnings,” Giordano said.

The nationally recognized certification meets the basic needs for many positions in a variety of fields, including training in areas like organizing, planning, problem solving, and more.

“These skills are transferrable to any industry” said program director and Vice President of the organization Sheryl Scannell.
As a result of the grant award, 30 eligible Lawrence residents will be able to participate in and complete free Customer Service training and Certification in a total of seven hours. Every resident who earns this distinctive Certification will have national, transferrable credentials of skill and knowledge in customer service.

“This certification and the skills students learn in the course enhance their resumes and make them more attractive to employers,” said Giordano.

Students who have completed the Customer Service Certification at LARE Institute have gone on to various jobs at local employers like Bank of America, New Balance, Youth Build, Ashland Farm, and Injured Workers Pharmacy.

“I know there are so many residents who have untapped skills and abilities and just need the self-confidence to achieve their goals,” said Sholik. “This certification will give them that confidence to pursue those goals or even serve as a stepping stone in a path to a new career.

“Not only will it show them that they are capable of achieving their goals, but it will show potential employers that they have the ability to learn and work as successful team members,” she added.

For more information regarding eligibility and enrollment, or to find out more about LARE Institute and American Training, contact Carol Sholik at 978-685-2151, ext. 6718 and or Carole Giordano at 978-685-2151, ext. 6710 and

American Training, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that has been delivering premier, award-winning workforce development, day habilitation, and work and residential programs since 1979. Our dedicated and passionate family of colleagues compliments these programs with some of the region’s most dynamic support services in the areas of transportation, counseling, work-preparedness seminars, and advocacy. We serve hundreds of residents, including people with disabilities, youth, youth-at-risk, the unemployed, underemployed, lifelong adult learners, and those looking to get the most out of life. Our services extend across many cities and towns in the Greater Merrimack Valley area and beyond. We are recognized for our WOW! Philosophy, which describes the fun and entertainment we incorporate in our activities, while always acknowledging dignity and respect for each person. As a company, American Training is fully committed to bringing out the best in everyone we touch by using proven methods leading to lives that are fuller and more meaningful.