Etiquette Class Elevates Professionalism Among Construction Students

Workforce Development
Contact: Greg Zick
AVP, Workforce Development
(202) 266-8493

Throughout Careers and Technical Education (CTE) Month® in February, NAHB will feature inspiring workforce development stories from members, HBAs, students and technical education faculty.

Do you recall the first time you ever attended a banquet with white tablecloths and napkins, crystal goblets, an array of silverware and multiple plates in front of you? A bit overwhelming, perhaps. Now put yourself into the shoes of your younger employees, who have grown up in a fast-food, carry-out society where only a few meals a week are eaten around a family dinner table and formal dining is almost unknown.

To address this issue, the HBA of St. Louis & Eastern Missouri's Professional Women in Building Council sponsors an annual dining etiquette class for students at an area CTE high school. Students from the Culinary Arts program prepare a formal luncheon and students from the Construction Trades program partake in the meal — slowly, in unison, led each step of the way by an etiquette expert.

Lessons throughout the lunch include how to manage one's napkin and silverware during the meal and how to converse while dining, how to respond to unfamiliar foods, and what to do when mishaps occur at the table.

The short course has been well-received by the students, who realize that proper etiquette will be helpful in job interviews and the workplace. "I am glad for the instruction," said one of the participants. "It will make me more comfortable when I have to meet with someone over a meal."

Dawn Thurman, marketing manager of Consort Homes and PWB member, says employers find value in teaching young people, who spend so much time communicating through email and social media, the importance of "Looking someone in the eye while having a conversation, knowing the meaning of a firm handshake, how to have a meeting during a meal [and] using respectful words such as please, thank you, and you’re welcome."

Learn more about how HBAs across the country are leading workforce development initiatives by signing up for the bi-monthly Workforce Development Champions Corner newsletter.

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