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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.

Airport Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) lab

No Textbooks, Real-World Experiences Prepare Industry-Ready Graduates

A relatively new degree program at Kansas State Polytechnic is filling a significant talent gap and launching competitive applicants into the workforce. The Airport Management degree program was founded on the principal of teaching evidence-based and real-world practices so graduates will enter the workforce with experiences on par with what they would gain from years of on-the-job experience.

Transcripts of Apprenticeship Webinar and Call Available

The transcript of the MTWC webinar, “Why all the momentum for Registered Apprenticeships? What are they?” held December 8th is now available for download on the MTWC website. Here, you can also view the recording of the webinar as well as download the presentation slides and other helpful resource materials.

After the webinar, a follow-up call was scheduled to allow more time to ask questions of the panel of experts about registered apprenticeship programs. The transcript of this call is also available on the website.

Taking the Lead in Supply Chain Talent, Tri-State Region Creates Partnerships to Build Capability

Painting the picture of what supply chain management encompasses and then creating a vision of a career in this field in the minds of young people is part of what is making the career pathway initiative, Supply Chain OKI, successful. Another key contributor to the initiative’s success comes from the numerous collaborative partnerships created across the region. Supply Chain OKI is building programs that develop skilled supply chain professionals and help retain that talent within the industry. Led by Partners for a Competitive Workforce, the initiative represents adjacent areas of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, a tri-state region from which the initiative gets the “OKI” in its name. Read more

Mentoring Young People in Michigan: DeAnte Thompkins Shares His Experiences

DeAnte Thompkins has hired and mentored more than 600 high school students as director of MDOT’s Metro Region Youth Development and Mentoring Program (YDMP), a program he was once in himself. MDOT’s twelve-week program provides summer job training as a foundation for entering transportation-related careers. We recently asked him some questions about his experience with mentorship programs.

What’s a typical work week for the students in the program?

Participants in the program work a standard forty-hour work week. The week is generally broken down into three days of work in the field and two days of mentoring activities. Over the last several years, we have partnered with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources so that the students could help in the beautification efforts of Belle Isle State Park. This provides a very safe work environment for students while still making an impact on a gem of Metro Detroit.

What are some actual student paths after finishing the program?

We have a number of success stories that have come as a result of being exposed to our Youth Development and Mentoring program.  After being exposed to the opportunities in transportation, we have kids go on to major in civil engineering. We have a gentleman that has been with YDMP since roughly 2009 who decided to become an aircraft mechanic because of what he saw during our mentoring event at MDOT’s Aeronautics garage in Lansing. We have other students that went on to get skilled trades certifications because of exposure to that career path. Read more

Events

Maintenance Leadership Academy

The State of Washington is hosting the first Pacific Northwest NHI Maintenance Academy and inviting others to attend and collaborate with peers. Participants will benefit from the diversity of experience and exchange of ideas.

The Maintenance Leadership Academy provides an intensive training program to individuals who hold positions as State, district, and county maintenance supervisors. The Academy can help decrease the time it takes to acclimate new managers and provide an opportunity for career development.

Participants acquire an understanding of the various processes, methods, and materials that are applied to maintain their organization’s bridge and highway systems. Participants develop a knowledge base of planning, scheduling, quality control, customer focus, program presentation, asset management, contract management and performance improvement. See sample outcomes below for each of the six modules that comprise the Academy.

The Academy curriculum consists of self-paced lessons accessed via the Web, as well as instructor-led classroom sessions. Self-paced lessons are completed prior to attending each of the two classroom sessions. Upon enrolling for the Maintenance Leadership Academy, participants attend a 1-hour Orientation Web-conference that provides an overview of the Academy’s schedule and information on how to access the self-paced lessons.