Certifying Logistics Workers for Increased Performance
Qualified and reliable logistics personnel play a critical role in the growing industries of the transportation and warehousing sector. Key responsibilities of these workers include receiving and storing products, processing orders, coordinating shipments, safely handling materials, quality control measures, communicating across multiple channels, and understanding the supply chain. Demand for these competencies extends well beyond transportation and warehousing into healthcare, finance, hospitality, manufacturing, and wholesale trade.
In response to this labor market need, the SAWDC - in partnership with the Community Colleges of Spokane's Center for Workforce Continuing Education - offered the first program of its kind for the Spokane region: the Certified Logistics Technician (CLTAE) training program. This credential-bearing program was developed by the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council and is accredited by the American National Standards Institute and the International Organization for Standardization.
Through WorkSource Spokane, ten recently dislocated workers seized the opportunity to earn this credential over an intensive 80-hour training period that included hybrid-based learning (online and classroom), small group work, and an industry tour. Participants demonstrated proficiency through two, stacked comprehensive assessments - one conferring a Certified Logistics Associate (CLA) certificate and the other conferring the CLT certification. All ten workers successfully earned both certificates and collectively outperformed their peers across Washington and the U.S. by an average of 15 percentage points in the eight areas of knowledge assessed!
Madison Pitcher discusses scheduling with a driver.
Trucking companies are facing increased shortages in hiring drivers due to exploding freight volumes. The National Trucking Association has predicted an "acute" shortage of drivers in the foreseeable future - 100,000 a year over the next 10 years. Spokane-based Trans-System, Inc. said that the shortage is likely due in part to retirements, increased freight, as well as perceptions about the industry.
Jeff Benesch, vice president of personnel, said that they aim to change how people think of jobs in trucking. They are actively working with WorkSource and the Next Generation Zone in Spokane to recruit both drivers and administrative staff. In addition, they have worked to create an attractive environment to increase interest in the transportation industry.
By setting up satellite offices throughout the country, Trans-Systems, Inc. has shortened their delivery runs. "The focus on regional freight runs can get drivers home sooner," Benesch said, and added that they have invested in technology such as satellite and newer vehicles for drivers while also increasing pay packages and benefits. "There are many options within the company," he added, indicating that drivers can even choose what type of freight to haul.
Job seekers utilizing the Next Generation Zone or WorkSource Spokane with an interest in Trans-System, Inc. or other companies may have an opportunity for on-the-job training as well as grant support programs through each agency.
Madison Pitcher, an 18-year-old from Wenatchee, who had taken community college courses in high school, recently became an administrative assistant for Trans-System, Inc. with full-time pay and benefits after receiving job placement assistance through the Next Generation Zone. Following just one visit to the career center, Madison was offered a company tour with Trans-System, Inc. which quickly developed into an interview and ultimately a job.
Trans-System, Inc. is highly invested in workforce development in the Spokane community. They serve on the SAWDC Board and partner with the Next Generation Zone and WorkSource Spokane to ensure talent development in their industry.