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More than just table manners
Transitional Partnership Program prepares students for workforce
etiquette pic 1
During a luncheon on Wednesday, students in the Transitional Partnership Program were taught various etiquette skills, such as how to handle silverware properly in a formal dining situation. - photo by ALYSSON AREDAS / The Journal

When sitting down at a formal dining event, it can be overwhelming trying to remember all of the proper etiquette—especially if the formal dining event also happens to be a job interview.

However, Turlock High School senior Angel Fierros will not be one to let an overwhelming feeling impair his endeavor to find a job once he graduates high school, thanks to his participation in the Transitional Partnership Program.

Over the course of the year, Fierros and other students in the Resource and Special Day programs at THS have participated in TPP in order to prepare for the workforce upon graduation.

This week, the TPP culminated with a two-day etiquette lesson from educator and presenter Luann Alemao.

“It is an honor for me to come here and work with these kids to help them develop the interpersonal relationships they need to have,” said Alemao. “They are not going to learn this in any regular curriculum class.”

Throughout the lesson students learned what a formal place setting looks like, how to introduce themselves, how to properly enter and exit a chair, handle silverware, fold a napkin into their lap, and what not to order in a business or interview situation.

“There is a level of etiquette in every relationship, whether it’s with a customer or with a family member,” said Alemao. “If you can finesse yourself around this and build conversation with people, you can do just about anything and you will be a good candidate for just about anything.”

Alemao reports that although the core etiquette skills remain the same, she has recently found herself extending past her typical etiquette lesson to caution students about social media, especially when they are looking for a job.

“Social media is public information, so they really need to use a heavy amount of discretion before they take that photo with their friends while drinking, especially if the picture is showcasing improper behavior or is maybe not tasteful,” said Alemao.

A number of business professionals were in attendance during an etiquette luncheon on Wednesday to represent various organizations throughout the community, including the Turlock Unified School District, City of Turlock Parks and Recreation Division, Target, Old Navy and Turlock Scavenger, among others.

“Building these business relationships happen often around a table and around a meal,” noted Alemao. “Practicing at a luncheon like this will help give them the cutting edge over someone else in the job market.”

As for Fierros, he hopes to use his newly learned etiquette skills to his advantage to get a summer job with the City of Turlock Parks and Recreation Division. In August, he plans to attend Merced College and pursue a degree in Criminal Justice.

“This program helped me in many ways, such as how to fill out the perfect application and resume,” said Fierros. “I feel a lot more prepared now and I am very grateful.”