American Alarm gets $57k 'boost' for employee training

Company will use the state grant to enhance training in customer service, sales and project management
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Friday, December 30, 2011

ARLINGTON, Mass.—American Alarm & Communications plans to use a new state grant of nearly $57,000 to train its employees to enhance customer service, complete projects as efficiently as possible and to gain sales skills.

“We’re excited,” Sheryl Gillis, human resource manager for American Alarm, which is based here, told Security Systems News. “It's a good boost for the training budget.”

She said the independent security company, which has been in business about four decades and has about 150 employees already spends a lot on technical training for technicians, but the new grant “gives us a little bit of flexibility” to train office staff and others.

American Alarm in December learned it would receive $56,805 from Massachusetts’ new Workforce Training Fund. The company is one of 138 Massachusetts companies to share more than $11.3 million in grants for work force training, according to a release from the governor's office. It’s projected the training funds will help produce 1,700 new jobs in the state.

At American Alarm, direct hires aren’t planned as a result of the funding, Gillis said. However, she said, “we’re looking to do some sales training and hopefully this will bring some promotions to people within the company and maybe some growth potential to hire [others to fill the positions of those promoted to sales].”

Gillis said the money also will be used to enhance employees’ customer service skills. “Our focus is to provide best-in-class customer service to our existing customers and to our future customers, so the [customer service] training keeps those goals on the agenda and makes our employees know the customer is No. 1,” she said.

The training will include role-playing for employees of the company, which has its own UL-listed central station here and three branch offices, in Worcester, Mass., Randolph, Mass., and Windham, N.H., Gillis said. Founded in 1971, the company has made nearly 20 acquisitions over the past two decades.

For example, she said, employees will learn techniques for handling emergency alarm situations, and the money also will help the company develop a training manual to help future employees.

The third area of training will be project management, with the focus on time management skills for handling multiple projects, she said.

American Alarm heard earlier in 2011 that the state grant money would be available and hired a company to help it write the grant application, Gillis said. She said American Alarm used the same company a few years ago to help it secure a state grant.