Call it a crash course in “The Shocking Facts of Life 101”, when United Parcel Service executives from around the country are air-dropped into Hell’s Kitchen of New York, or soup lines in Chicago, or the rural poverty of McAllen, TX or Chattanooga, TN.
These white-collar execs learn about poverty, hunger, and disease by living and working among inner city and rural poor, where they are required to use their problem solving skills to help make a difference.
For 30 years UPS has continued its one-of-a-kind senior management training course, the Community Internship Program (CIP), begun in 1968 after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, to help build bridges between people of all economic and social levels.
The CIP program creates an opportunity for executives to gain a greater sensitivity and empathy for people they deal with every day. Ron Childs, a recent participant from California, stayed in a Lower East Side New York housing project. He delivered hot sandwiches to homeless people living under an overpass near Yankee Stadium. “It’s an incredible experience,” he said. “A little shocking, too,” he aded, which is the point, according to UPS.
To date, UPS has spent $10 million on this unique management experience.