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January 16, 1998     Cape Gazette
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January 16, 1998

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46 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, January 16 - January 22, 1998 BUSINESS & REAL ESTATE Sussex Tech retail certificate classes a boost to merchants By Rosanne Pack and Jen Ellingsworth For shoppers who have been dissed by a slack salesperson and retail store managers who catch the flack because of the slack salesperson, Sussex Tech Adult Education says, "Have we got a bargain for you!" A program designed to make a spectrum of people happy, the Re- tail Certificate Program offers training for those who are interest- ed in a career in the retail industry. It is open to Delawareans 18 and older; no retail experience is nec- essary. And, it is free! The next class opens Tuesday, Feb. 17, and continues through Wednesday, May 20. The pro- gram is a cooperative effort of the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), the Sussex Tech Adult Division and the Rehoboth Out- lets. Those interested in applying must contact the Department of Labor by Tuesday, Feb. 10. Carol Bada, program coordina- tor and instructor, said the training is ideal for a person who has a sin- cere desire for a full-time career in retail. She said, in addition to learning basic skills of retail, those who complete the course will also learn of the variety of ca- reer opportunities that are avail- able in the field. "This is a great program for this area; retailing is a large employer in Sussex County," she said. "A lot of people can get a job here, but many do not have the skills for a career. And changing attitudes is a big part of the program; we want the students to understand that this is truly a start on a career track, not just help in getting a part-time job." The first session finished last month and some of the graduates are already employed in the area. Dana McLaughlin of Oak Orchard is an assistant manager at Peebles in the Rehoboth Mall. Alter learn- ing about the program from store manager Randy Kreigle, she de- cided to see for herself what the classes were all about. On the first day back after graduation, McLaughlin, who had up to that point been working part time only on the days when she didn't have class, said she started working at the store full time. She said she was attracted to the program be- cause she felt there were many more facets of the retail profes- sion she wanted to explore. "I, like many people, thought that retail was a position you took while waiting for another job to open up and make your liveli- hood," said McLaughlin,who works primarily in the home, gift and domestics section of Peebles. "As erroneous as that is, that's what I used to think. But, when you take this type of class, it real- ly makes you realize that the sky's the limit." Kreigle is an advocate of the program because he feels it is ben- eficial to his staff and customers. "I was excited about it from the moment I knew the classes were forming," he said. "One of the most difficult things for me is to find well-trained assistant man- agers. The program does a really good job of giving people an idea of what retail is all about. I would encourage anyone who is looking for an interesting career to consid- er going into retail because there are such great opportunities i-n our area." Cheryl Ruddy, manager of the Petite Sophisticate, Casual Corner and Casual Corner Woman in the Rehoboth Outlets 3, said she was extremely impressed after inter- viewing two graduates of the pro- gram for positions in her stores. "In particular, I was impressed by what they knew about cu's- tomer service," said Ruddy, whose three stores employ be- tween 16 and 20 full- and part- time sales associates overall. She said the applicants also had a well-rounded knowledge of in- vento.ry shrinkage and loss pre- vention. "I'm really looking forward to the next class, because it will be just in time for the summer sea- son," said Ruddy. Bada, who has a background in fashion merchandising, said that the management of the Rehoboth Outets has been extremely helpful in getting the certificate program started. The corporation provides classroom space in a conference room at the Comfort Inn on Route 1. "The Rehoboth Outlets has a big stake in the success of the pro- gram. This is an area where there is such a concentration of retail and where the level of service is crucial," she said. "The need and the opportunity are intertwined here, and the cooperation that we have is the core of the program. "Our partnership with the retail- ers here lets us take our concepts into action in some of the stores, and, of course, the retailers want a pool of labor that we are training." Jen EIIingsworth photo Dana McLaughlin, an assistant manager at Peebles in the Rehoboth Mall, was among the first group of graduates of Sussex Tech Adult Education's Retail Certificate Program. Some store managers, such as Heidi Shell of Jones New York, invite the class right into their store for an on-site training ses- sion. Bada said that learning from someone on the job is very benefi- cial to students. She said that topics that are cov- ered include merchandising and product presentation, delivering superior customer service and ad- vanced selling skills. The training takes the student beyond the sell- ing floor to learn retail mathemat-. ics and store operations, loss pre- vention and inventory control. According to Bada, some of the positions that students can expect to apply for upon completion of the training are sales associate, commission sales consultant, management trainee, stock associ- ate, inventory control specialist and cugtomer service representa- tive. "Completing our course doesn't necessarily mean that you get a position in management right away," she said, "but for those who didn't see retail as a full-time career, this makes them aware of the places that they can go when they get into the field." Jimi Ingram, assistant market- ing manager of the Rehoboth Out- lets, said that it seemed to be a natural partnership when Bada in- formed her office of the program. "When we learned of the train- ing program at a management meeting, we were glad to help co- ordinate it," she said. "We have notified our store managers and some of them have become in- volved in the program. They will also be made aware of those who complete the training. Continued from page 48 What if my money doesn't last as long as I do? FINANCIAL FOCUS Bruce Chilcoat span. What if you run out of re- tirement savings at age 85 and live - 10 more years...or 20? Annuitization may help Ensuring that retirement sav- ings last long enough is where an- nuitization comes in. Annuitiza- Almost_eery working person in America is, in some way, plan- ning for retirement. Most of us are aware that traditional sources of retirement income, such as Social Security or an employer-spon- sored pension, probably will not fully fund our retirement as they did for past generations. More and more, it is up to us to prepare financially for our retire- ment years. As we build our personal retire- ment assets, we generally estimate our needs based on the cost of our expected or desired retirement lifestyle, the current outlook for inflation, what we can currently afford to save and our estimated life expectancy. This seems reasonable, but what if one or more of these, factors prove to be other than anticipated and the money doesn't last? Peo- ple are living longer today, and it's especially necessary to plan contracts called annuities, guaran- tees the annuity owner income payments for a predefined period of time, typically ranging from as short as five years to as long as the lifetime of the owner and his or her spouse. Additionally, many financial advisors consider this an excellent method of building future income because annuities are tax-advan- taged investments, that is, their as- sets grow on a tax-deferred basis during what is called the ipitial "accumulation phase." How does an investor fund an- nuitization? First, assets are in- vested and built up for a number of years in an annuity, during the accumulation phase. As a hypo- thetical example, a man who is currently 55 years old places as- sets into an annuity to begin the accumulation phase. When he turns 75, he will decide for how long he wishes to receive pay- contract. Thus, he will begin his "income phase" of the contract and start re- ceiving a check every month. If he elects a lifetime payout, he will re- ceive checks for the rest of his life, regardless of how long he lives. How assets build during the ac- cumulation phase depends on which annuity you purchase. There are many types of annuities from which to choose. Some an- nuities (fixed annuities) guarantee a fixed rate of return, while others (variable annuities - which are sold by prospectus only) offer professionally managed portfolios that usually invest in the stock market. Most variable annuities provide a range of features and benefits, including provisions for your heirs in the event of your death. All offer the advantage of tax deferral on investment earnings represent a significant increase in value over investments with earn- ings subject to annual taxes. As with other investments, diversify- ing assets can provide a desirable mix of liquidity, stability, lifetime income and opportunity for growth. It is best to talk with an invest- ment professional to learn what choices might suit your individual circumstances. In the end, one of the greatest advantages of annuitization is that you do not have to know in ad- vance how long you will require income. Therefore, you can rest a little easier knowing that you'll have at least one source of ongo- ing income throughout your re- tirement years. Bruce Chilcoat is an account executive in investments and Cer- tified Financial Planner with Dean Witter Reynolds' Rehoboth for ....... " " " " .... " - the posslblhty of a longer hfe tmn, avatlable through insurance ments and annumze his a nnu!ty .... wb,, loagterm,.can,._Beachrfice .... a::z:r :.:::'