Finding logistics workers with the right skills is a growing challenge for all companies. One approach that promises to help is a national certification program funded by the Department of Labor and being developed by two universities and nine community colleges.
Georgia Tech and Florida’s Broward College are the lead universities in a government funded initiative to establish a national certification program for specific logistics jobs, says Tim Brown, director of professional education at the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistics Institute.
Driving this certification effort was a growing awareness that the supply chain is facing a skilled worker shortage, while many long-term unemployed and returning veterans are unable to find good jobs, says Brown. He helped created a consortium of nine community colleges and three universities, which obtained a grant to fund the program from the Department of Labor. Research done in support of the grant shows that in seven target states, 3,200 new logistics jobs are likely to be created during the next tow and a half years, Brown says. “There is a dearth of qualified people to fill these positions.”
The consortium now is working to create eight national accreditation programs and associated curriculums in inventory management, transportation management, customer service operations, manufacturing operations, and other areas. Pre-certification training courses will be taught at campuses across the country, Brown says. “Some already have courses and material that they can adjust, based on the curriculum we are developing – other schools may have no supply chain programs and may leverage the entirety of our content.” Colleges also will be free to offer the courses online or with a combination of online and classroom requirements. The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals will oversee testing and the accreditation process, Brown says.
Accreditation will give employers an assurance that potential employees know the basics requirements, says Brown.
Additionally, the program will work toward having complementary courses offered concurrently. “This will allow students to come together for joint projects and shared learning,” Brown says.