Bahan personalizes training for TLC new hires
Transitional Learning Center Front Line Supervisor Jennifer Bahan looks forward to coming to work every day. She said she is grateful she can help others and make an impact at UPS by helping nontraditional new-hire employees learn vital skills to work at UPS. “My job is to get to know the trainee, determine where they’ll be most successful and train them to excel,” she said. Bahan started at UPS in 1999 as a part-time document auditor in International Export Operations. “I moved around to several areas and in 2004, I was promoted to a front line supervisor,” she said. In September 2014, she accepted a position in the newly-completed TLC area.
Her first task was to help create and organize a training plan for newly-hired employees who had unique challenges. She researched training methods and helped to create a training schedule based on an agenda and fundamental package handler training. TLC participants are handpicked by Options Unlimited, Inc., an agency that assists people with disabilities find jobs to become as independent as possible. The TLC focuses on hiring and training individuals with disabilities. Individuals in Bahan’s class are trained through hands-on experience and are taught how to work safely in the operation. They are placed in areas processing nonrevenue packages during their training.
“From the first day I worked with these trainees, I immediately felt a connection to them. They are capable of learning the skills necessary to do the job; but they might have to learn those skills differently,” she said. “I am constantly thinking of the best ways to teach them how to do things so they understand what they need to do. I think about it all the time. A lot of what I do is trial and error.” Bahan said she feels connected to the trainees because her son Zane has autism. “I’m used to working with people who have unique needs. When Zane was young, we knew that something wasn’t quite right, but we didn’t know what it was or how to deal with it. A lot of what we did, we weren’t sure if it was right or wrong. It was just common sense to us,” she said. At one time, Zane was nonverbal and low-functioning, but today is both verbal and high-functioning. Bahan said she learned she had to treat her son like anyone else. “We provided him with tough love and I do that with our trainees as well,” she said. “We look at the trainees’ abilities, not their disabilities.” When asked about her favorite part of her job, Bahan replied that it is meeting new trainees, hearing their stories and seeing them overcome their challenges. “They’re so appreciative of the opportunity to become more independent,” she said. “I am so thankful for the chance to make a difference and help others. We have a great management team who is very supportive and the program would not have been as successful without the support of my supervisor Kim Ray and manager Todd Coffey.”