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A unique Training Program at UPS

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Mark Colvard, a United Parcel Manager in San Ramon, California, recently faced a difficult decision. One of his drivers asked for 2 weeks off to help a sick family member. But company rules said this driver wasn’t eligible and he couldn’t go. If Colvard went by the rules, the driver would probably take the days off anyway and be fired. On the other hand, Colvard chose to give the driver the vacation. Although he broke the rules, he kept a valuable employee.

Had Colvard been faced with this decision 6 months earlier, he says he would make a different decision. What changed his thinking was a month he spent in a UPS management training experience called the Community Internship Program (CIP). During his month in McAllen, Colvard built housing for the poor, collected clothing for the Salvation Army, and worked in a drug rehab Center. Colvard gives the program credit for helping him understand employees facing crises back home. And he says that CIP has made him a better manager. “My goal was to make the numbers, and in some cases that meant not looking at the individual but looking at the bottom line. After that one month stay, I immediately started looking at people in a different way.”

CIP was established by UPS in the late 1960s to help open the eyes of the company’s mainly managers to the poverty in many cities. Today, the program takes 50 of the company’s most promising CEOs each summer and brings them to cities around the country. There they deal with a variety of problems from transportation to housing, education, and health care. The company’s goal is to provide information to these managers about the challenges/problems that many of their employees’ face.

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