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American Training: Changing
Lives in Lawrence and Beyond

Tom Duggan

One of the greatest honors I have as mayor of Lawrence is to witness the tremendous efforts being made by Lawrence residents and business owners to make this community a better place to live and work in every day.

This month I would like to take the opportunity to tell you about Tom Connors, one of the unsung heroes in our city. Tom, a lifelong resident of Lawrence, is the CEO and President of American Training, Inc. on Glenn Street, right in the heart of our industrial park.  

Along with his partner, Arthur Brady, Tom started American Training in 1979 in a small office on Haverhill Street. They started American Training to help people in the community better prepare for the changing job market and to provide life skills and education to people most in need.  [I had the pleasure or experiencing first hand the tremendous success they have achieved at their recent Business Awards Ceremony.  I learned quickly that when it comes to consistent performance they are the go-to agency in our area!

American Training started with 28 employees and a budget of approximately $700,000. Thanks to the Herculean efforts of Tom, Arthur and their business partners, American Training now employes over 300 Merrimack Valley residents and has a budget of more than $15 million. From that little office on Haverhill Street so many years ago, American Training has grown to service more than 10 cities and towns – from as far south as Cambridge and Boston to communities in Southern New Hampshire.

The services provided to people in this area by American Training runs the gamut from helping those with disabilities, to retraining and reemploying those who lost a job at Lucent Technologies or Malden Mills, to helping those looking for a career change and wanting to brush up on their skills to better prepare themselves for newly emerging job opportunities.

American Training also manages 12 homes throughout the valley, servicing at-risk youths who are coming out of programs run by DYS (Department of Youth Services) and DSS (Department of Social Services) as well as individuals with physical and other disabilities who often find it difficult to master life’s basic skills or job-related skills that would encourage employers to give them a chance. 

In short, American Training is like a private community college, serving the youth of the Merrimack Valley as well as those well established in the world of work. From senior citizens who need help getting to and from the supermarket to young parents who’ve had children at a very young age and did not finish their own education or acquire work experience, American Training seems be able to do something to help everyone who walks through their doors.

The help they give people with little or no public recognition is truly amazing. But even more amazing is the attitude and philosophy of Tom Connors, Arthur Brady and the rest of the dedicated people at American Training who are making such a huge difference in the lives of Lawrence residents and the others they serve outside our city limits. They truly believe and have proven with their success that compassion, teamwork and high expectations are paramount to building a better community and making a difference in people’s lives.

“Our philosophy is to provide needed services to people, yes,” Connors told me recently, “but performance is most important. We have to encourage people to realize their true potential and help them reach it in a fun and entertaining way. We know that our guests as well as our colleagues learn better when enjoying themselves. So, our goal is to have people leave our facilities every single day saying ‘wow!’ and then taking that experience out into the real world.”

Tom also told me of the tremendous generosity of private business partners in Lawrence and surrounding cities and towns. “Our business partners donate a tremendous amount of money, resources and time and we need to produce results to show what we are doing with all the funds and resources so generously given in the name of helping needy people.” And they certainly are doing that!

Community partners teaming up with American Training include Gem Corporation in Lawrence, Boston Coffee Cake in Haverhill, Life is Good in New Hampshire, Vicor, [MINCO,] Market Basket, Papa Gino’s, Burger King, Tech Print, and so many others.

But if you are not one of the [hundreds] of individuals who are in need of their services, chances are the only thing you know about American Training is that they provide transportation when you see their vans, with the American Training logo on them, traveling the streets of local communities. What you may not know however is that these vans carry [hundreds] of individuals every month to and from work, job training, recreation and education sites, and they even bring people to appointments and to their doctor’s office.

Yet, the good people at American Training, including Tom and Arthur, never pat themselves on the back or go out seeking public recognition for all the lives they touch and change every single day. They really do such great work and they deserve credit for single handedly contributing to the economy of our area in ways that no other private company can claim.

As mayor of Lawrence I am proud to see the success of American Training and the dogged determination they have exhibited on behalf of our residents.  I am equally as proud that they are located right here in Lawrence.

 *Send your questions comments to ValleyPatriot@aol.com
The July 2007 Edition of the Valley Patriot
The Valley Patriot is a Monthly Publication.
All Contents (C) 2007
, Valley Patriot, Inc.
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