College of the Sequoias Partners with VWR For Training

Nestled within the Visalia Industrial Park sits a medical and laboratory supply distribution center – VWR. They supply medical supplies to west coast schools, laboratories, universities, hospitals and food manufacturers.


VWR began a partnership with the College of the Sequoias Training Resource Center through the Visalia Economic Development Corporation’s monthly roundtable. Ralph Garcia, the VWR Plant Manager started to recognize the benefits the relationship could have to VWR. Ralph reports: “I think it’s a great that we have the opportunity to work with COS and have the ETP program available to offset the cost, which allows our employees to develop whatever skillset they may need to be working on at the time – it’s phenomenal.”


58% of VWR’s promotions in 2018 were internal. Ralph spoke in length about VWR’s intentional effort to create a culture of training and support for their employees. “I wanted the employees not to look at working for VWR as a job, but as a career. As a management team, we do a really good job of communicating with our associates and helping them to understand that if you want more within your career and if you’re willing to put the work in, we’re going to be supportive to put you on that path to develop.”


“One of the major classes that we’ve used through COS is obviously the Supervisory Academy and helping people to understand different personality types and learn how to manage people at different levels. Even in my career, having those opportunities made available at my company, I would have taken complete advantage of it. It seems to work really well for us, even to the point where we have people basically lining up to get signed up, to get put in the next class”. He says that his employees look forward to new ways that they can learn and better themselves. Mr. Garcia is extremely proud to work at VWR because he sees how happy his employees are to work there.


One employee is a Shipping & Special Services Supervisor at VWR who has attended the COS Supervisory Academy. She was promoted a year and a half after starting her positon and is a wonderful example of a strong internal hire the company has had.

“I really liked the way Heather structured her class, it involved all different types of learning sensors. We were moving, watching clips, writing, using team work to put together puzzles and having open discussions. This gave all different learning types the availability to grasp her concepts. My favorite topic was learning about different personality types and how different people respond to different approaches. Another important topic that stood out to me was work relationships vs friendships.”

“VWR is an amazing company”, she reports. “It’s the only company I’ve worked for that offers classes such as these and I feel blessed and grateful for their support.”


Partaking in training helps VWR with their retention rates, which in turn keeps their hiring and firing costs low. “If we’re basically fully invested in our people to help them develop and promote internally, people are going to want to stick around because they know that that we’re completely invested in them”, Ralph says. “So I think from a retention standpoint, it puts us here at Visalia in a better position, because people want to progress and stay on because they want to promote from within. “


If you are interested in customized training for your workforce (many live online options too!), contact the College of the Sequoias Training Resource Center at, [email protected] or 559.688-3130.