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December 3rd, 2016

Working the “Other Side” of the Amazing ReSOURCE Store in Barre

Connor LaClair, Work Experience Coordinator at the Resource Store in Barre, presently works with 56 clients and volunteers — a lot to keep track of but always done with a smile.

Connor LaClair, Work Experience Coordinator at the Resource Store in Barre, presently works with 56 clients and volunteers — a lot to keep track of but always done with a smile.

Many visitors to the ReSOURCE store at 30 Granite St. in Barre consider it to be central Vermont’s leading thrift store for all kinds of household and business recycled goods.

But what Store Manager, Bob Kershaw, points out is almost nobody sees the main mission of the non-profit ReSOURCE store as offering work readiness Training (CURT) and Soft Skill and Technical Skills Development.

According to Connor LaClair, Work Experience Coordinator at the Barre ReSOURCE Store, over one thousand trainees have gone through the organization’s Work Readiness training ranging from Customer Service to Professional Development, to actual training programs ranging from General Retail to Office Administration – and everything in between.

For LaClair, who grew up in Lamoille County and has served in the Peace Corps (W. Africa) and now the Vermont National Guard, his special job at the ReSOURCE Store brings all past training into play.

“I love having two careers that work with many different kinds of people,” says LaClair, who started in his position of Job Training, Environmental Services and Poverty Relief at the ReSOURCE Store in June of 2015.

“These three components of Job Training, Environmental Services and Poverty Relief are all tied together,” he said. “We want to offer good entry-level job training in areas that recycle materials back into the community environment and helps get people good paying jobs and out of poverty.”

LaClaire admits that many people don’t realize that job training is a big part of the ReSOURCE Store, a “non-profit enterprise serving Vermont since 1991.” There are now four ReSOURCE store locations – two in Burlington, one in Hyde Park and the Barre location. Its slogan is “less waste and more opportunity.”

“Most people know something about the store which is growing bigger every day but they don’t know about the expanded training that goes on behind the scenes,” LaClair proudly explains. “We even hope in the very near future to be offering certification in three areas and that’s going to be OSHA 10, customer service, and 21st century skills.”

LaClair also coordinates the many people who come and volunteer to help out at the ReSOURCE Store. Many do so because of their love of recycling and fixing up items into reusable products, notes LaClair, but they work well with the trainees who are learning customer service and management skills.

“I have 56 clients I manage right now; 35 of which are trainees and 21 are volunteers,” he said.

Training on the internet/social media is important at the ReSOURCE Store in identifying items and determining their value to be resold. Craigslist, Ebay, databases and cross-referencing are some of the useful tools.

“We want to make Vermont a stronger community by making its people more independent and self-sufficient,” LaClair said.

For more information on all the training programs at the ReSOURCE Store, contact LaClair at (802) 238-4516 or claclair@resourcevt.org. – GH

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