Smotherman said the experience has also
helped her understand the role of the Chamber
in the community.
“This group of small businesses come
together to discuss the benefits of Cumberland
County. They strive to bring more businesses
to bring people here to better Crossville
and Cumberland County,” she said.
She has been helping with answering
phones, providing information on events,
hospitals, and relocation resources.
“People come in and want things to do,”
she said. “With COVID, it’s been hard to
pinpoint what’s open.”
She’s helped with filing, gathering minutes
from board meetings, and providing
The program is self-paced, allowing Smotherman
to continue her lessons on days she
isn’t at the Chamber. She works through
modules that enhance her experience in the
“Customer service is the main focus right
now,” she said. “When customers come in, I
know to be polite, show professionalism. It’s
given me experience to work on how I present
Chamber President Ethan Hadley said
internships are incredibly valuable to students
in every field.
“Interns are better qualified to make
decisions regarding their career paths and
businesses can examine and refine their
practices from new employee on-boarding
and training to project management and
general day-to-day operations,” he said. “If
there is an ongoing need and the fit is right,
internships can also result in hires. The process
can function as a test drive for both the
intern and the employer.”
The retail, hospitality and tourism program
takes a year to complete, with three
trimesters focusing on customer service,
hospitality and tourism, and management.
“Mixed in with that are three mini-courses
in computer applications,” said Reid.
“You learn a little bit of Word, Excel, PowerPoint
and file management.
“Cash registers are all computers now, so
you really need those basic skills to be able
to run those computers.”
The COVID-19 health crisis struck about
the time students would have been ready
to their third trimester internships in the
spring. Reid found an online simulation,
however, that helped students develop their
skills in customer service and hospitality
and tourism management.
Reid liked the simulation program so well
she’s integrated it into her curriculum, offering
that experience before the students go
into the field.
“It was neat to have that practice to work
through problems you experience on the
job,” she said.
In addition to the TCAT diploma, the curriculum
aligns with multiple industry certifications,
such as the National Retail Federation
Customer Service and Sales Certificate,
American Retail Federation Retail Management
Certificate, and American Hotel &
Lodging Association Certified Hospitality
and Tourism Management Professional certificate.
“They not only leave with certificates
from us, but certifications recognized by
industry leaders,” Reid said. “That’s an extra
feather in their cap.”
Looking ahead, Reid hopes the program
continues to grow. She’s currently teaching
it along with the administrative office technology
“One of my goals is to also get this
into the high schools as a dual enrollment
option,” she said.
Reid said the program would benefit students
who graduate high school and enter
“This program focuses on improving customer
service at our mom-and-pop stores,
our big box retail stores. It’s going to help
not only the students gain skills, but the
overall community will have overall better
customer service,” she said.
New students can start each month. Contact
TCAT at 931-484-7502 to learn more
about the programs available at the Crossville
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