Cingular Trains Its First Employees

A computer trainer looked around her classroom and asked, "Anyone here good with jingles? Poems?" You didn't need those skills to get a job with Cingular Wireless. But they helped Cingular's first 108 employees get through day one of their three week training course.

Gidget Kisner sat in front of her computer terminal and said, "I'm just excited. I've been hired for two months and I've just been waiting and waiting and waiting. And finally the day came. I couldn't sleep last night."

The first day of customer service training was a lot like the first day of school. The new employees learned the computer lingo they'll eventually use to answer customer service questions. "It's something new," said Chester Rogers. The three week training course was just a couple of hours old. But Rogers was already a class favorite. "It's something fresh. I'm new. I'm fresh. And this is what this company needs."

For the next three weeks, Cingular and its Gulf Coast Community College training partners will teach employees all about the wireless industry, and all about their roles as customer service representatives. "It's absolutely very important," said Kisner. She lives just a couple of block from the new Ocean Springs customer service center. "I've lived here 35 years. I love Mississippi. And now all of these new people that are here, it's a wonderful thing."

The payoff for the trainees comes August 20th, when they move from the Gulfport training center, to Cingular's new Ocean Springs complex. "Other than the benefits," Ursula Gudger said, "the advancement opportunities are awesome."

Analysts believe that when Cingular finishes hirings its 600 employees, the customer service center will pump $40 million into the coast economy.