UPS Inc. has opened a high-technology driver-training facility in Menlo Park, Calif., adding to its roster of computer-assisted training sites that have helped boost safety, production, and workforce retention, the company announced Thursday.
The site includes a range of teaching tools, from 3D driver simulators to a mocked-up version of a small town, complete with realistic touches like street signs and small houses.
Atlanta-based UPS designed the new learning course to match the way young people learn in an increasingly computerized culture, working with education specialists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Virginia Tech, and the Institute for the Future.
Drivers who attend the new UPS Integrad facility will follow three steps of training in a "teach me, show me, let me" progression. Drivers first learn the company's driving and service methods, then see how the methods work, and finally practice them in a hands-on fashion.
Attendees use a mixture of three-dimensional computer simulations, webcast learning modules, and traditional classroom instruction to reinforce safety, delivery, and customer service training, UPS says.
When they reach the practice stage of driver education, they enter "Clarkville USA," a mock neighborhood that challenges drivers to solve the same challenges they will confront in real-world parcel-pickup and -delivery routes.
"Helping new UPS drivers to meet our high standards requires that we adapt new training techniques and tools," said Joe Finamore, UPS vice president of global leadership and talent development. "This new building will use experiential training in a next-generation curriculum that better prepares UPS drivers."
The new Menlo Park facility joins other advanced training sites in Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Portland, Ore., and Phoenix.