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The TLC offers a two-week, pre-employment training program that is staffed and operated by UPS training supervisors as well as Options Unlimited job support staff. The program uses both classroom training and a simulated work environment to teach participants about job responsibilities, safety procedures and soft skills.
The UPS Transitional Learning Center (TLC) is a cooperative effort between UPS and Options Unlimited, Inc. to allow people with disabilities to experience UPS jobs through hands on-on training.
UPS began laying the foundation for the TLC in 2012, when Air Group Human Resources Manager Tom Volta visited the Walgreens facility in South Carolina to observe its training area for individuals with disabilities. Walgreens suggested UPS reach out to Options Unlimited, Inc.
In February 2012, the Air Region held a disability summit where it formally partnered with Options Unlimited, and that May, members of Air District management returned to the Walgreens facility to better understand how to incorporate its training techniques at UPS. The coalition between Options Unlimited and UPS hired its first employee in August 2012.
The following February, Options Unlimited on-site Program Director, Libby Gootee, aligned with the training department, allowing UPS to be more responsive to individual training needs. Management and quality trainers received additional guidance on addressing training obstacles. Options Unlimited partnered with the Poses Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization focused on learning, in July 2013.
In January 2014, the inaugural TLC class – consisting of six students – began the following September.
Since then, 135 classes totaling 502 students have graduated to working in UPS Worldport’s operations with 224 still actively working. The TLC has won numerous awards for its efforts in creating opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The Transitional Learning Center is reframing disability inclusion not only as social responsibility, but as a means of meeting strategic business needs.
The TLC program focuses on four key areas to ensure its success hiring, retaining and supporting employees with disabilities – culture, collaboration, curriculum, and company return on investment.