background image
eyes to new opportunities, and for them
to be successful after high school," said
McCann. "We are all about helping them
achieve their dreams."
An accredited high school, LMACS is
focused on enabling its 120 students
achieve academic, social and career
success, according to Margaret McDevitt,
LMACS Director.
"We like to describe our students as `over-
aged and under-credited,' `' said
McDevitt. "They have left school before
graduation for all kinds of reasons. The
average age of our students is 17, but we
have graduated many 21-year-olds."
Through TJX's YBI program, LMACS
students are learning what the world of
work really looks like, said McDevitt.
"These TJX managers have so much to
offer our students."
In the LMACS classroom, Morse is
leading the YBI session with Alma
Finnerty, Manager of the Marshalls Store
in Lowell, April Willis, a TJX District
Loss Prevention Manager, and Erik Wissa,
TJX Senior Community Relations
Specialist whose responsibilities include
overseeing YBI.
After Finnerty goes over a list of ideas
about how to prioritize your time, Wissa
explains how to use the 2012 day-
planners TJX has given each student.
Then, Morse shares another tip only a
hiring manager would know: "Don't have
loud, blaring background music on their
voicemail greeting," advised Morse.
"When I call a job applicant back and
hear crazy, offensive music on their
voicemail, I hang up," she said.
Only after McDevitt and her LMACS
staff began meeting with TJX about the
YBI program, did they truly appreciate
how much the company employees had to
offer the students, she said. "The people
teaching these sessions have worked for
the company for a long time, some of
them for 30 years or more," said
"One thing we hear a lot is that many of
these managers started at the bottom,
were mentored by somebody at the
company, and worked their way up," she
added. "That's a good message for our
students to hear."
YBI covers topics such as personal
finance, resume building, career
exploration, job-interviewing skills, and
how to dress for success, explained Wissa.
"We are working with students who need
these resources, and providing many with
job and scholarship opportunities," he
Thus far, approximately 1,600 students
have graduated from all of the YBI
programs in various states, said Wissa.
The current goal is to hire more of the
YBI students and graduates, he said. TJX
hopes to continually increase the hire rate
over the next five years, as the program
expands to more communities with
Marshalls, T.J.Maxx and HomeGoods
At LMACS, YBI is geared toward older
students who are close to graduating. TJX
also offers its Business Basics program to
younger LMACS students. "Business
Basics gives students an overview of many
positions at TJX," explained McDevitt.
"We take three TJX trips: Two trips to the
corporate offices in Framingham, and one
trip to a Regional Distribution Center ­
which the kids just love," she said.
TJX distribution centers are enormous
facilities, filled with items and boxes
whizzing by on conveyer belts, McDevitt
said. "That place runs like a well
choreographed dance, and the kids are
just mesmerized," she said. "They have
never thought about where all the clothes
and merchandise in the stores come
Not only is Business Basics designed to
fascinate the young people, said Wissa, it
also exposes them to new career
possibilities. "These trips are
opportunities for students to see that
working in retail is more than just folding
and selling clothes," he said. "At TJX, we
have positions available in many areas,
from legal, human resources and
corporate communications, to finance,
real estate, marketing, store operations,
and loss prevention."
In addition to investing employees' time
in these two programs, Wissa added, TJX
devotes other resources, as well. All YBI
students are given a tote bag, containing a
day-planner, pad-folio, calculator, pen and
pencil set, and (when they graduate from
the program), a set of personalized
business cards. After the dress-for-success
portion of the curriculum, each student is
taken shopping by a personal shopper,
who helps them select work-appropriate
In short, said McDevitt, TJX rolls out the
red carpet for her students. "We are
treated like royalty on these trips," she
said. "And everybody comes home with a
goodie bag. The kids really appreciate the
gifts, and it helps bring home the
commitment TJX has invested in the
Back in the YBI classroom, as Morse
continues her presentation, she gives the
students another helpful hint: "Guys,
make sure you have a simple,
straightforward email address," she said.
"When I'm looking through resumés, I
immediately weed out all those with
inappropriate email addresses," she said.
"I've been a manager for a long time and I
can't repeat some of the wild and crazy
addresses I've seen," Morse said. "When
you're looking for a job, you want to sell
yourself. Don't sell yourself short."
Kathy Register
Erik Wissa, TJX Community Relations Senior Specialist, (left) shows Lowell Middlesex Academy Charter School
(LMACS) students how to use the day-planner TJX has given each Youth Business Institute (YBI) student.
Evelyn Morse, HomeGoods Regional Security Manager, (right) leads a classroom of 24 LMACS students through a YBI
presentation on resumé writing.
PROFILES_S12_inside-KR_Layout 1 4/2/12 2:56 PM Page 6