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Goodwill of Kentucky will train hundreds of people in the upcoming year on soft skills at work: how to get along with a boss, what kind of cleanliness is expected on the job and how to handle conflict with co-workers. It’s part of a new “Soft Skills Academy,” aimed at helping people keep jobs.

Goodwill has run a pilot of the program for the past few months and has had success, said Amy Luttrell, president & CEO of Goodwill Industries of Kentucky.

“Employers come to us and say, ‘we can’t get people to come to work on time, we get people who haven’t bathed, who don’t know how to relate to their supervisor, and they don’t deal with their life issues in a way that allows them to be dependable and focus on their work,’” Luttrell said.

Participants are trained in several areas, including team building, dependability, attitude, safety, conflict resolution and self-presentation.

“Those are things that can make or break a person on the job,” Luttrell said.

So far, people coming from the city jail, substance abuse treatment, and other job training programs have participated in the academy. Luttrell said for many of their students, they’re learning these skills for the first time.

“They probably didn’t do well in school, or may have failed to graduate. Maybe not having the family encouragement — that a lot of us have had — to get their work done in time and get help if they need it,” Luttrell said. “And these are not things that they’re gong to learn in a short period of time.”

Goodwill is partnering with employers who offer full-time hours, health insurance and other benefits, like manufacturer Rev-A-Shelf. Luttrell said employees who go through the training will have special access to Goodwill staff if the employee runs into a problem on the job.

“If an employee gets in a rough spot because of attitude, or any of these problems, Goodwill will come in,” Luttrell said. She said Goodwill will help the employee and employer come to a resolution.

Goodwill’s Soft Skills Academy kicks off on Monday, March 19, at the Goodwill Center for Education and Employment at 11:30 a.m.

Lisa Gillespie is WFPL's Health and Innovation Reporter.