UPS Teams Up with Abilities! to Reinvent Training
(Albertson, N.Y.) On December 3, Abilities! hosted a ribbon cutting, celebrating the opening of its own UPS/Mailboxes, Etc. (UPS/MBE) retail franchise on its Albertson campus. This will be a regular UPS/MBE store with a singular difference: it will offer unparalleled training opportunities for individuals with disabilities. According to Joseph C. Tranfo, former president of UPS Foundation, “This is nothing less than a complete rethinking of the way in which we train individuals with disabilities to work in the corporate world.”
Abilities! (formerly known as the National Center for Disability Services) has long been known for its exceptional vocational training programs for individuals with disabilities. This unique partnership with UPS, however, breaks new ground as it allows Abilities! to train individuals with disabilities within the framework of an actual UPS/MBE retail franchise. The project also involves an almost unprecedented investment of time and resources from UPS. “On behalf of everyone at Abilities!, I want to thank UPS for its great faith in our organization. We are all extremely grateful for this extraordinary opportunity,” commented Edmund L. Cortez, Abilities! President & CEO.
UPS has a long, creative history with Abilities! but its investment in the new franchise pushes its involvement up to a new level. The corporation is not only underwriting the franchise costs (and waiving the franchise fee) but also getting involved in all other aspects of the program. For example, the company helped to create the curriculum for this new Abilities! training program, known as the Printing, Packaging, Shipping & Mailroom Services (PPSM). It also flew James Soldo, Director of PPSM, out to California for a ten-day training program at UPS University, all at no cost to Abilities!.
UPS is also setting up internship programs for Abilities! trainees at its local franchises. Consumers will train for six weeks at Abilities!, working in the on-site UPS/MBE franchise. They will then do a one-week internship at a local UPS/MBE franchise, learning “on the job” from staff and store managers. The hope is that, at the end of the training program, as many graduates as possible will find work in local UPS/MBE franchises. Selected franchise owners will also serve on a Business Advisory Board for the UPS/MBE store at Abilities!, offering their expertise on store management, training curriculum, and so on.
During their seven weeks of training, Abilities! students will learn how to interact with customers, how to sell UPS products and services, and how to work sophisticated equipment. They will be taught to operate the software necessary for giving price quotes and tracking packages. They will learn the guidelines for shipping packages nationally and internationally. Trainees will become “certified UPS packagers,” passing a course on how to safely and effectively pack items for shipping. In addition, they will learn to operate store machinery used to make posters, banners, and yearbooks. They will also be trained in document services, such as faxing and color copying.
The Abilities! UPS/MBE franchise will be open five days a week but only to those on the Abilities! campus. However, since Abilities! is the parent agency for a large number of affiliates — including the Henry Viscardi School – a significant amount of work should come its way.
Founded in 1952, Abilities! is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a world where people with disabilities receive the same treatment as all other people and have equal access to the benefits society offers. With a staff of more than 400, including experts in education, human resources and technology, Abilities! has grown to become a global leader in the full integration of people with disabilities into everyday life. More information about Abilities! and its wide range of services to individuals, organizations and private-sector businesses is available at www.abilitiesonline.org.