In our monthly B Corporation Series we report on featured B Corporations, sharing their achievements with the readers. AMS is a B Corporation so we’re going begin this year’s series by sharing some of our own achievements. A good part of our B Corp culture is our dedication to the education, training and advancement of our employees. AMS is moving ahead post-pandemic, and here below is the story.
AMS Fulfillment has long been committed to uplifting the community in one manner or another. With its massive warehouses, kept busy with shipping and receiving, assembling, picking and packing consumer goods, AMS hires a large number of entry-level employees. Knowing there are many individuals who need employment but may not have the basic skills to enter the workforce, AMS has since 2016 offered training programs and a fully equipped a classroom space within their headquarter facility. In addition to training in basic skills to enter the workforce, AMS has offered ongoing internal training on core job responsibilities and cross-skills training.
Relationship Begins with College of the Canyons
The AMS adult education and career development programs began when a relationship was established with College of the Canyons (COC), a Santa Clarita community college. In the arrangement with COC, AMS would provide the classroom space, and COC the curriculum, instructors, materials and registration. The classes and certification programs are free to AMS employees.
Over the years the classes have included adult education courses and life-skill training including English as a Second Language, with General Education Diploma (GED) Citizenship courses, and career specific training including Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Beginner Microsoft Excel classes, and on-the-job training leading to a first of its kind nationally recognized Apprenticeship in Logistics. The courses attracted employees who not only wanted to learn, but also wanted to advance and step into a leadership position.
DOL Certified Logistics Apprenticeship
When the apprenticeship program was being certified, AMS became the first company in the State of California to offer warehousing and shipping apprenticeship and the first company in the United States to apply for a registered apprenticeship with the Department of Labor in the area of logistics. To gain the DOL Certified Logistics Apprenticeship, AMS employees received on-the-job paid training while participating in the education program.
The apprenticeship was a big ‘first’ for COC as well, for developing the program. Commenting on the achievement, Dr. Van Hook from COC said, “This is an example of how a corporation and a college can work together to make a difference in the lives of people regardless of their past. AMS and COC will continue to strive for excellence in serving the clients, the students and the people of Santa Clarita for years to come…stay tuned.”
There was another very special educational effort as well. AMS participated in a summer leadership and career readiness pilot program, organized by S.T.R.E.A.M. Global Innovations (SGI) in cooperation with Goodwill Industries. Working with Goodwill Industries and S.T.R.E.A.M. was an appreciated opportunity to serve the community.
Advance My Skills Learning Center
AMS had finished outfitting a new and specific room for training, education and professional development by 2017. Employees took part in naming the classroom the Advance My Skills Learning Center (The Learning Center “TLC”). The ‘classroom at work’ idea was successful from the very beginning due to its convenience for employees and members of the community. AMS then added a 20-person computer lab as an additional learning center space which the company made available for lease to other SCV businesses and not-for-profit organizations. From 2017 to 2020 the AMS Learning Center was the hub of a great deal of beneficial activity with students learning at a college level right on the AMS campus… all at no cost to the student!
Responding to Change
Then we reached a crisis moment as did everyone – TLC was temporarily shuttered in early 2020 when the COVID pandemic brought about the necessity of many changes including safety measures for the protection of employees.
AMS is a company that adapts to change, so it didn’t take long for the TLC to pick back up with training after our usual 4th quarter learning hibernation. In 2021 we adopted external professional development opportunities to include online training programs and Zoom for interactive bi-coastal training with a live instructor. For those with transportation hardships to and from their facility, we provided tablets and a quiet workplace within their facility’s office space.
The measures continued. With safety as a first priority, each computer station in TLC was equipped with plexiglass. We kept the in-person participation spaced out to a safe number of employees and we hired a cleaning crew to sanitize the room before and after trainings. We gaged the learning experience with surveys to ensure quality training, in addition to the instructor providing a ‘passing grade’.
We Begin 2023 in TLC
As we begin 2023, a new session of classes is underway, taking place in the TLC with Zoom available for employees not at the Valencia location. In this year’s curriculum there are ESL Beginner and Intermediate classes, Management Toolbox and Emerging Leaders classes, Customer Relations and Mindful Coworker classes and EXCEL Spreadsheet Basics. The classes are taught during work hours, which is an additional benefit.
For AMS employees TLC is a place to grow and learn and progress. We look forward to our learning center becoming a community hub of activity once again as well, and we love being a B Corp!