SAW Program: A Brighter Future Through Learning

By Robert Hood on April 05, 2018


Darnell Chambers has worked as a custodian at UC San Francisco for the past four years and he’s eager to advance in his career. That’s why he participated in the university’s School at Work Program last year.

“I want to continue to work in the UC system but I understand I need new skills if I want to advance,” he said. “The SAW program helped me gain those skills.”

School at Work is a six-month program where participants attend class each week for two hours and spend two hours outside class on homework. More than 9,000 employees nationwide have sharpened their skills and explored new positions within their organizations as part of the program. A special information session will be held Wednesday, April 11 from 5 to 6pm at Mission Hall, Room 2100

Senior Custodian Anton Goff also participated in last year’s program as a way to further his career. One of the most important things he learned from the program was the university has different opportunities for career growth. “The SAW Program gives employees opportunities for growth,” he said. “I would recommend this program to all employees if they are looking for career growth within UCSF.”

The program has been in existence for the past nine years. This is the fourth year that Kelly Anglim has been the SAW coach.

Field Trips Reinforce Classroom Learning

“A really fun aspect of the program is our field trips,” she said. “Once students have discovered some areas of interest, I set up ‘field trips’ to meet with UCSF employees performing these jobs and tour their areas.”

Chambers, who grew up in Vallejo and graduated from Vallejo High School, said he wants to eventually become a manager. “One of my favorite classes was management communication,” he said. “I learned grammar and writing and it gave me real-life scenarios to work through. I’m using what I learned in that class in my current job.”

Anglim said the program is largely marketed to employees in the medical center but Joyce Hammel, director of diversity, inclusion & strategic organization development at Facilities Services, learned about the program and began marketing it to Facilities Services employees.

“This program provides our employees with an opportunity to learn new skills to help them advance in their careers at UCSF,” she said.

The First Year for Facilities Services

Custodians Ramiro Mendez, and James Taylor joined Chambers and Goff in last year’s program. “The program has a proven track record of helping UCSF Health employees who want to develop their skills and pursue possible careers in the medical field,” Hammel said.

Anglim said this year’s class has four employees from the medical center along with the four employees from Facilities Services. “We’ve really enjoyed having the Facilities Services employees in the class. Honestly, they really made the class engaging and interesting. They contributed to the discussion and most importantly, made us all laugh as we learned.”

Chambers said he would recommend the program to other employees. “It was a very good experience for me. I learned new skills that I will use the rest of my life and it gave me the skills I need to advance my career.”