Berkshire Hathaway’s McLane Company, Inc., a leading supply chain services company providing grocery and foodservice solutions, has announced the expansion of SPARK, a company-wide initiative focused on identifying workplace diversity opportunities through a variety of programs, community outreach and lending support to nationally recognized diversity-focused annual events.
With the expansion, McLane furthers its commitment of creating and maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce to foster creativity and innovation in order to better understand evolving trends and drive results for customers.
As part of this expansion, McLane has collaborated with Colorado Division of Vocational Rehab (DVR), Workforce Boulder County and Easter Seals on a Workplace Diversity Hiring pilot program that provides real world work experience to individuals with disabilities.
Participants of the Workplace Diversity Hiring program are referred by DVR and Workforce Boulder County to participate in a six-week training program that combines classroom and on-the-job training. The two weeks of classroom instruction includes soft-skills training, such as teamwork and problem solving taught by Easter Seals. The remaining four weeks of the program are located at the McLane Western Distribution Center, where participants will be exposed to real-world work experience as they integrate and work alongside McLane teammates. During the experiential training a job coach accompanies participants, ensuring they receive proper training based on their individual abilities. The second training session is scheduled to kick off in early October.
Other programs currently deployed under the SPARK initiative include:
Hiring Our Heroes (HOH): Because McLane deeply values the sacrifice and driven work ethic U.S. veterans and military embody, the company embarked on a partnership with Hiring Our Heroes in 2015. Initiated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the 12-week Corporate Fellowship program strives to make the transition to civilian careers easier and more seamless for military veterans.
McLane works with other HOH partners Workforce Solutions and the Texas Veterans Commission to source active duty military personnel for onsite project work lasting 11 weeks. To date, McLane has successfully hosted four fellows and has hired three. With this partnership, McLane is able to tap into the skills, drive and value our veterans have to offer.
Operation Impact Network of Champions: To further expand its veteran reach and talent with expertise in logistics, information technology, security, maintenance and business operations, McLane became part of the Operation Impact Network of Champions. This program was started by Northrop Grumman, a Department of Defense contractor, and sets out to assist wounded service members injured during the war on terror with transition from military to civilian careers.
“McLane recognizes the value of a diverse workforce to include people with disabilities from diverse backgrounds, and with highly-trained military expertise. The launch of SPARK deeply aligns with McLane’s beliefs and values of honesty, integrity, and high Christian principles, and further demonstrates our commitment to diversity inclusion,” said Jennifer Rojas, EEO compliance, and inclusion manager at McLane. “It’s been a great experience working jointly with the many exceptional partners we’ve identified for each program, and we look forward to adding great talent to build out the McLane team and making people’s lives better.”
Looking ahead with SPARK, McLane plans to include additional disability training programs under the Workplace Diversity Hiring Program, as well as seek out opportunities that bring greater impact to the company, its teammates and the communities it serves.
© 2016 David Mazor
Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.