Learning How to LEAD: Verizon Helps New Employees Develop Their Management Potential

By Hutson, Brittany | Black Enterprise, September 2010 | Go to article overview
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Learning How to LEAD: Verizon Helps New Employees Develop Their Management Potential


Hutson, Brittany, Black Enterprise


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MARCUS ALLEN'S ORIGINAL PLAN was to join the military after college, but he changed his mind when he applied to the Verizon Future LEADers Program, a 10-week summer internship. Since interns can return to the program throughout their college years, he participated for four summers, working in areas such as project management, government contracts, budgeting, and diversity training. After completing his fourth year, Verizon Enhanced Communities, a business unit of Verizon Communications Inc. that provides high-speed Internet and telecommunication services for multifamily residences, hired him as a sales coordinator.

Once he took the job, Allen became eligible for the company's Leadership Excellence and Development Program, an 18- to 24-month program designed for entry-level employees. Participants, who are required to have received a bachelor's or master's within the past two years and maintained a 3.0 grade point average, develop valuable management skills and contacts. Hiring managers recommend candidates; if they meet the criteria, they are entered into the program. "LEAD launches careers here at Verizon," says Karessa Burris, a manager of organization development who works with the program. "It transitions them from college to work and helps them to be strategic about their career."

Since LEAD was established in 2003, 440 participants have completed the program, more than half of them people of color; and 37% have been promoted.

In Allen's class, 14 twenty-somethings handle a curriculum that comprises formal and informal learning activities including assessment tools and as many as 12 online and on-site courses in areas such as leading change, time management, presentation skills, communication, and business etiquette. Moreover, they receive mentoring from their peers and from company leaders. To further increase their knowledge of current trends, the participants meet business leaders and industry experts at quarterly conferences.

Allen says he has noticed how the program has improved his leadership skills.

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