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Greater West Town – Basic Supply Chain Training

By Herb Shields | 12/17/2010 | 7:48 AM


I have been a member of Greater West Town’s (GWTP) Shipping and Receiving Program Advisory Committee for several years.  For me, supporting GWTP is a year round opportunity to give something back to our profession and the community at large.  It also is a good blog topic during the Holiday Season.


Greater West Town Partnership is a not-for-profit organization located in Chicago that offers a variety of services to citizens who need assistance in developing their potential as productive members of society.  The Shipping and Receiving program trains approximately 60 people every year in the basic skills needed to qualify for employment in a warehouse, distribution center, or manufacturing company.


Bob Fittin, Director of Training at GWTP, had this to say about the selection process used to qualify people for each 12 week training program: “Each person seeking admission into training will visit the facility at least three times prior to being accepted. The first will be for a general orientation including a basic quiz to assess general industry knowledge and matching ability, completion of an application, and a brief exit interview. The second will assess the applicant’s reading and math skills. The third will be a full interview with two staff members. Those selected will then take a drug test, and if negative, will be accepted into training. We’ve worked closely with our Program Advisory Committee, composed of our business partners, to structure a process that will enable us to train the type of individual who will be motivated to succeed when hired. Since we are outcomes’ based it is critical that graduates retain their employment. This also benefits the program as businesses will look to GWTP for their next hire.”


GWTP’s funding is based on placement of graduates.  In recent years they have had great success and placement rates have consistently been near 90% of each class.  Over the years, many well known people including President Obama, Treasury Secretary Geithner, several  Illinois governors, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and other elected officials have visited GWTP.  But like most not-for-profit organizations that make great contributions to society, GWTP remains largely invisible to most business people.


2010 is ending on a very positive note for GWTP.  They have moved into a restored building in Chicago which provides more useable space and has been certified as a LEED’s facility through the efforts of the entire staff led by Janet Sebahar, GWTP’s facility manager.  The building dedication took place on December 9th.


If any of my readers are aware of similar organizations that support the development of the supply chain workforce, I would be happy to hear from you.  Importantly, if any of you want information on hiring GWTP graduates, send me a message or e-mail Bob Fittin directly at bfittin@gwtp.edu.



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About Herb Shields

Herb Shields

Herb Shields has run Chicago-based HCS Consulting since 2000, helping clients across multiple industries and in higher education improve their supply chain strategy and execution. Shields has more than 30 years as an operations executive for capital equipment, automotive, electrical machinery and consumer products companies. As vice president of materials management at consumer goods company Helene Curtis, Shields led the supply chain organization that helped Helene Curtis win "Vendor of the Year" awards from Wal-Mart Stores and Target Corp. Shields has a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Clarkson University and did graduate work in business at Bowling Green State University.


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