UPS training center helps people with disabilities find their niche

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- UPS says a training center that helps individuals with disabilities get acquainted with working at World Port is a success.

The Transitional Learning Center opened this past September. It includes a state-of-the-art classroom, sort belt, tractor trailer and mock packages.

The goal is to get potential employees comfortable with UPS equipment, and help them discover what role they would like to take inside World Port.

"We see what they like doing, and what they're best at doing," said Willie Byrd, Chief Executive Officer of Options Unlimited -- a Kentucky group that helps people with disabilities find work. "UPS is very good at putting them in those positions in the production area."

Since teaming up with Options Unlimited in 2012, UPS says it has hired around 85 people with disabilities. 12 of those employees have gone through the learning center.

Nathan Mattingly, 22, has Asperger Syndrome. He is halfway through the two week training at the center and is excited to start working.

Halfway through a two week training program, the 22-year-old has already found his place at UPS.

"I'm definitely liking this unloading quite a bit," he said. "The people here, they make it easy."

Mattingly, along with all other hires from the Transitional Learning Center, will work part-time and receive the same pay and benefits as other workers.

"[At first] they might have some obvious situations that might make you hesitant," said Byrd. "But when they get in the training center, and you see them they say, 'well yeah, they he work for me'."

Mattingly still has a week left before he decides if and where he wants to work within World Port, but he says he would recommend it to others with disabilities.

"Anybody who's got a disability -- no matter who you are -- young or old, this is an opportunity you don't want to pass up," Mattingly said.

Because as he says, there's a place for everyone along the sort belts and inside the trucks.

"You're a puzzle piece, you fit somewhere. No matter who you are. What you are. You fit."

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