Training in all the right places - SourceAmerica Academy doesn’t miss a beat

By Jason Golden 12/04/2020
Training in all the right places - SourceAmerica Academy doesn’t miss a beat

SourceAmerica is a leading job creator for people with disabilities. It is also a connector—a force for change—uniting individuals and organizations committed to increasing economic and social inclusion for people with disabilities.

The organization connects federal contract requirements to essential products and services, fostering enhanced productivity for customers while at the same time creating employment opportunities for professionals with disabilities. SourceAmerica connects its network of more than 700 nonprofit agencies to employment opportunities in the federal space though the AbilityOne® Program. The AbilityOne Program is among the largest providers of jobs in the U.S. for people who are blind or have significant disabilities.

One of the most significant ways that SourceAmerica has invested in its network is through the design and execution of a comprehensive training program.

The SourceAmerica Academy provides over 6,000 training classes through its role as a learning management system (LMS). These classes span a wide range of topics from Disability Awareness to popular Project Management Professional classes and other useful courses that a business may need to incorporate into its own training curriculum. Many individual nonprofit agencies have their own training programs but agree there are always areas for enhancement.

Katy Jarvis is the training manager at The Chimes DC, one of the nonprofit agencies in the SourceAmerica network. “While we are able to provide a decent amount of training to our own staff, SourceAmerica and its training program fill an ideal role in closing gaps with our program,” she said.

Recently, Jarvis set up SourceAmerica training for her organization that covered the topic of dealing with difficult employees. It was a rousing success for The Chimes DC employees -- so much so that an additional class was scheduled – an opportunity that SourceAmerica was happy to provide.

“The Chimes DC is just one example of how we are able to provide a unique training platform for our network,” said Sabrina Harmon, one of the training leads for SourceAmerica. “We provide access to our library of courses to the nonprofit agencies so that they can assign training – from the SourceAmerica Training Academy – directly to their own employees. It’s a benefit of being part of the SourceAmerica network. And best of all, all of our courses are available at no cost to the network.”

While training has long been one of the key benefits to the SourceAmerica network, it has been a challenge to continue the robust program under the auspices of the COVID-19 pandemic. While trainers like Harmon would often travel many days each month to different sites for in-person classes, that hasn’t been possible as the nation continues to navigate ongoing restrictions and social distancing required in 2020.

“Our training model had included a hybrid of online and in-person training prior to the pandemic,” said SourceAmerica Senior Director of Learning Solutions Heidi Graff. “The pandemic has pushed us toward a fully online system, which actually provides the nonprofit agencies more opportunities to take trainings they need to succeed in their roles.”

The fully virtual model does not take away from the importance of a hands-on experience, she noted. “We know that many professionals and organizations prioritize and even covet an in-person learning experience. We will definitely adjust our program to offer these types of classes once the pandemic has reached a point where it is safe to do so for everyone.”

The promise of a hybrid training process suits Harmon quite well. “There are so many different ways to learn that we are working diligently to be positioned to do both in-person and online training. I love being able to have that type of flexibility and know that I will be able to reach as many people as possible with a hybrid system,” she noted.

For more information about the SourceAmerica Academy contact