‘More jobs than people’ in fast-growing local logistics industry

Cincinnati State’s Supply Chain Career Development Center open in West Chester.


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The gap between what the logistics industry needs and what’s available in the workforce seems to grow larger every day.

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College is looking to fill that gap with its new Supply Chain Career Development Center at 5450 Spellmire Drive, which Wednesday held a grand opening ceremony attended by Ohio legislators, area business leaders and government officials.

The new 22,000-square-foot logistics training center provides a venue for Cincinnati State’s certificate and degree classes, as well as several other logistics-related training offerings. That’s expected to feed the region’s growing supply chain industry a pool of credentialed workers.

Cheryl Brackman, of Cincinnati State’s Workforce Development Center, said supply chain jobs in the logistics industry are “the number one in-demand job” in Southwest Ohio, and the gap in available training opportunities is one the college is seeking to fill.

“We can’t train people fast enough,” Brackman said. “There are more jobs than there are people. We need to be able to train them to do that and then be able to go to work because the demand is huge.”

According to the most recent estimates, jobs in the transportation and warehousing industry in the Cincinnati metropolitan is expected to grow 6.8 percent by 2022, and add approximately 2,700 new jobs.

Currently, the area including Butler and Warren counties employs nearly 40,000 people in jobs related to trucking, transportation and warehouses, according to Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Cincinnati State Interim President Monica Posey said the college recognized the need for such a center about three years ago and held conversations with community leaders and businesses, putting together a proposal to receive U.S. Department of Labor funds in order to secure grant support.

“We talked to the industry about the need for a skilled workforce and the potential of high-paying jobs, and we learned more about the growth of supply chain in this region, the new companies, the new opportunities,” Posey said. “It was a perfect match, and we were able to put together, with support from business, a proposal.”

That led to a a $2.5 million grant from the Department of Labor, she said.

“That was the incentive to make something happen,” Posey said.

Supply chain jobs in the logistics industry were once seasonal, with employers grabbing whomever they could in an attempt to fill jobs during peak times.

“It’s become much more automated, much more sophisticated technology,” Bowling said. “We now have robots and the forklifts are becoming more sophisticated and the need for speed, companies like Amazon or FedEx, they want to ship it out right now, so speed and organization is important.”

The setting of the main campus provides a mix of classroom space and a “working warehouse” stocked with inventory, forklifts and robotic equipment to give students hands-on experience for what it’s like to work in a warehouse, distribution center, shipping or other goods-moving environment.

In addition to training students for work experiences in distribution centers, for example, students will also learn work readiness skills.

Students at the campus pursue new short-term certificates on topics such as wireless and mobile tracking, global logistics In addition to students starting new careers, plans are to partner with companies to offer training for their existing workers to improve their skill.

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