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New AAS in Logistics Engineering Technology Fills Talent Gap in Emerging TDL Occupations

If you ask most companies in shipping or logistics if it is possible to hire someone with an associate degree who knows logistics, engineering, and information technology, they will tell you that such graduates do not exist, and they would be right. But, graduates with this unique set of skills will be hitting the workforce in just two years thanks to a new AAS program coming out of Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio where the first class of students have enrolled in the degree program and begun their instruction this fall.

“I was excited to see this degree was being created. It fills a gap that has been out there for some time,” said Jeremy Banta, Lead Faculty for the Supply Chain Management program at Columbus State.

The new AAS degree in Logistics Engineering Technology (LET) was formed after collecting input from area employers who helped the college identify the skills and knowledge requirements for this evolving occupation. The degree brings together core competencies in accounting and finance, communication, information technology (IT), leadership, and logistics. It also brings in technical knowledge from industrial engineering technology and electro-mechanical engineering technology.

“What we’ve recognized is it’s difficult to find the right people with the right skill sets,” said Brandon Andrews, Senior Corporate Learning & Development Manager at Intelligrated, which is part of Honeywell. “We’re looking for a certain level of aptitude or proficiency before we bring them on.”

Andrews points out that the increasingly automated logistics field relies on sophisticated systems representing investments in the tens of millions of dollars. His company does not hire inexperienced people to run or maintain such systems. They are looking for well-trained people who have chosen the occupation and who are prepared with the training they need to get up to speed quickly.

“The Logistics Engineering Technology program at Columbus State encompasses the more technical aspects together with the operations piece and how the systems all interact with the facility, as a whole,” said Andrews.

The goal of the AAS program is to have students graduate with an understanding of the fundamentals of IT and computer science, principals of engineering, and fundamentals of logistics so they can talk to all these groups.

“The main rationale for the degree is to combine logistics with engineering technologies,” said Tara Sheffer, Grant Coordinator at Columbus State. “We know logistics is changing, we know distribution is changing, we know there is a skills gap.”

The new degree program was developed with a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program, which specifically aims to help community colleges develop academic programs for the education of technicians for high-technology fields important to the nation’s economy.

“Columbus State recognized early on that most students in the Supply Chain Management degree program were returning adults,” said Banta. To accommodate these students, 50 to 75 percent of the courses for the LET degree can be completed online.

Industry partnerships were key to the development of this degree program. They will also be key to future evolution of this program, which is slated to include a work study component and internship requirement.

Columbus State is also working to develop a third phase to this program, referred to as a “two plus two plus two” pathway. In this model, students embark on a career pathway beginning the last two years of high school. Then, they complete a two-year degree program at a community college followed by two years at a university to earn a bachelor’s degree.

As they move forward, the college will continuously work to identify and predict emerging technologies and trends affecting logistics occupations. Their goal is to continuously update the curriculum to meet evolving needs within the workforce.

“I always joke that an English professor does not necessarily have to be out in industry to see what’s new going on in their area. But, we do,” said Banta. “At least once a week we’re taking a tour, talking to an industry leader, or attending a conference so we can hear about what is new out there and what gaps need to be filled. For instance, a lot of employers right now are saying soft skills are a problem. Employees know how to do regression analysis, but they don’t know how to write an email.”

For more information about the degree program, visit the Columbus State website. Information about the curriculum and how it was developed may be found on the Columbus State website page for the grant project. To learn more about collaborating with Columbus State, contact Tara Sheffer at tsheffer@cscc.edu.

Designed for Generation Z, Online Pre-Apprenticeship Offers Wisconsin Students a Fast Track to High-Demand Careers

In recognition of the importance of workforce issues to Wisconsin’s contractors, Wisconsin Operating Engineers partnered with Destinations Career Academy to develop the Operating Engineers Pre-Apprenticeship Program. This program prepares students for registered apprenticeship while still in high school. Hosted through the McFarland School district in south-central Wisconsin, this program is available through course options to students throughout the state.

Clearinghouse Puts Transportation Resources at Your Fingertips

The Midwest Transportation Workforce Center (MTWC) recently launched its new, searchable database of transportation workforce resources. With over 1300 entries, the search feature is accessed by clicking on “Clearinghouse” in the top menu of the MTWC website. Here, you will find listings of a variety of resources including pre-apprenticeship programs, internships, educational opportunities, professional development opportunities, scholarships, summer programs, and workforce development initiatives across the nine-state MTWC region, and beyond.

While the website, with its varied content devoted to growing the transportation pipeline, is a first stop for people seeking transportation workforce information, the indexing of resources in this new database will help users find what they are looking for more readily.

The Clearinghouse is a resource for educators looking for transportation curricula or programs, industry or workforce professionals looking for successful practices, or parents who are looking for summer programs for their budding transportation professional. So, if you are looking for Supply Chain programs in the region, or K-12 programs that target girls, we can help.

“Our vision for a Clearinghouse is that it will help us capture and define the collective work we are doing in this region. These transportation resources span the continuum from K-12 career awareness through professional development across all transportation occupations. With this database, we can determine where the gaps are and where we need to improve career pathways.  As our communities prepare for the future of the transportation workforce, this kind of information will form a fundamental baseline for these planning discussions. We will be ready,” said Maria Hart, MTWC Program Manager.

The MTWC website is a one-stop for all things related to the transportation talent pipeline in the Midwest. With MTWC, you can connect with your peers, share best practices, read about others’ successes, and help define and develop the Midwest strategy for transportation talent development.

Please click here to explore the most comprehensive compilation of the region’s transportation workforce development initiatives, programs, and resources.

Make Sure Your Resources Are Listed

The MTWC Clearinghouse is always growing and improving. This launch is only the beginning. Help us build this network. To get your resource listed, please complete the MTWC Clearinghouse submission form. Or, send information along with a website link by email to Maria Hart at maria.hart@wisc.edu.

Jobs for the Future’s Toolkit Helps Colleges Implement Work-Based Learning

Jobs for the Future Website

Resource Website

With case studies, videos, a report, and an online toolkit, national non-profit, Jobs for the Future (JFF), provides a model for implementing work-based learning programs for community colleges.

The toolkit, called Work-Based Learning in Action, tackles a key challenge facing many prospective employees: relevant work experience is often required for employment, but can be difficult to obtain prior to entering the workplace. Work-based learning, promoted by this toolkit, is one solution.

JFF has identified seven principles for effective work-based learning. Each of the case studies focuses on a successful program using one or more of these principles.

To access the toolkit, visit the JFF website at www.jff.org.

Transportation Today

Newspaper for Students Transforms Image of Careers in Transportation

Since it was launched, Transportation Today WI has transformed career and technical education (CTE) programs across Wisconsin into desired destinations, not just a place where some students end up, according to publisher, Renée Feight. This change is, in part, because the newspaper written for students brings awareness of great career prospects in transportation to the classroom. Feight and Larry Werner, publishers of the Transportation Today WI newspaper are excited about all things transportation. The publication was added as a special publication of its parent publication, Teaching Today WI, in 2010. Read more

Events

FutureQuest 2017

FutureQuest 2017 will provide approximately 5,300 middle school students with an opportunity to relate their current interests to future education and career opportunities found within 16 career clusters. Students who attend this event will be better prepared to choose high school classes that relate to their interests and strengths.