Meeting the Growing Needs of the State’s Transport and Logistics Sector
Partnership looks to expand talent pipeline, advance low-wage workers
By Dave Conrad
Managing a program last year to meet the workforce needs of Connecticut’s energy utility industry, Deb Presbie of CBIA’s Education Foundation noticed something very interesting about the program’s graduates: many were quickly being hired as drivers because their utility training included obtaining a commercial driver’s license.
Transporting products and services locally, nationally, and internationally is critically important to Connecticut’s economy, especially given the state’s heavy investment in exporting. The transportation sector is also growing and in need of a pipeline of qualified workers.
According to The Conference Board, while 2013 continued to be lackluster for job creation nationally, jobs in service occupations, such as transportation and material handling, grew last year.
After being hit hard by the recession, Connecticut’s transportation and logistics sector has steadily grown, adding more than 4,000 jobs in 2013.
Presbie managed the Energy Utility Workforce Partnership that helped define the specific workforce needs of Connecticut’s energy/utility industry and developed training that meets the needs of prospective employees. The partnership was established by the Connecticut Energy Workforce Development Consortium with funding from the Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford. CBIA’s Education Foundation managed the partnership.
Now she’s working to form a new workforce partnership that aims to answer the same workforce questions for Connecticut’s transportation/logistics/distribution sector. Once again, the effort is being funded by the Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford.
The first step, said Presbie, is to get Connecticut companies on board to help identify the sector’s workforce needs and how to meet them. Recently, she answered questions about the partnership for CBIA News:
Q: What are the goals of the new partnership?
A: We have three primary goals. First, we want to understand what skills and competencies are needed for entry-level and middle-skills jobs in the sector. Second, we want to outline career pathways in the sector to help workers and employers create opportunities for advancement to jobs with strong earning potential. Last, we want to connect key industry stakeholders and serve as a roundtable for understanding and communicating workforce needs.
Q: What kinds of companies are you looking for?
A: We are looking for companies in the Greater Hartford and Enfield labor markets that have workforce training and hiring needs in the transportation, distribution, and/or logistics (TDL) sector. This includes companies of all sizes involved in the planning, management, and movement of people, materials, or goods by road, pipeline, air, rail, or water. Jobs include supply chain logistics, dispatch, driving, packaging, and material handling, to name just a few.
Q: What will you ask the companies to do?
A: We’d like companies to participate in individual and bimonthly partnership meetings over a six-month period to define workforce needs and skills gaps and help develop a plan to address them.
Q: What kinds of outcomes are you looking for?
A: Ideally, we seek to create an employer-driven partnership of public and private sector organizations that are committed to strengthening the pipeline of qualified workers in the TDL sector. We expect to develop a coordinated plan together with the workforce development system to provide job seekers with the skills and credentials they need for entry- and mid-level jobs, while helping employers establish more defined career ladders.
Q: How can businesses sign up?
A: All interested companies should contact me as soon as possible at 860.244.1932 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dave Conrad is a senior writer at CBIA. He can be reached at email@example.com.
For updates on CBIA’s education and workforce development programs, visit CBIA’s Education Foundation.
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