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Logistics Career Choice Academies Project
Your help needed--Logistics Career Choice Academies Project
Ocala is becoming a Mecca for distribution and logistics companies as is evidenced by recent announcements regarding three additional major operations soon to open in Ocala after the recent opening of the 400,000 square foot FedEx distribution center. AutoZone has started construction of its 450,000 square foot facility, Rural King has started construction of its distribution facility, and Chewy is soon to break ground on its 600,000 square foot facility. Over a thousand new employees will be hired to man these facilities. Additionally FedEx management is saying that their site will see other major expansions in facilities and employment. The CEP is predicting that 2017 will outpace 2016 in announcements of additional companies moving to Marion County.
The issue to current manufacturers and logistics companies is will there be a large enough pipeline of employees to keep their businesses going. MRMA has been working diligently with the local schools, colleges, CareerSource and others to help expand this pipeline. CF now has both Associate and Bachelor Degree programs in Logistics. The Marion County School system started a logistics academy last year at MTI but is now planning on expanding to two high schools this coming fall term—West Port and Lake Weir. They need help from industry. Getting hands on experience is crucial. There are a few different options that your company may be able to help support this effort:
Provide “real world” work to do. Consider partnering with one of the schools to handle all or part of your warehouse operations. If you are a small company, can you let the students take over your warehouse operations in your current facility or at a warehouse leased by the school? If you are a larger company, can you let the students take over part of your warehouse operations such as sample shipments from a school leased/owned warehouse? This may seem scary at first but it can be systematically implemented by your people and the instructor. Your inventory control system or the school’s systems could be used.
Help find warehouse space to lease. Do you have warehouse space to lease? Or do you know of warehouse space for lease—ideally near one of the two schools?
Donate equipment. Can you donate racking, forklifts, scales, scanners, label printers, inventory control equipment, etc.?
Become involved in advisory committee. A single industry advisory committee has been formed to provide input to the logistics programs at CF and the Marion County school system academies.
Host tours at your facility. Students need to be exposed to real world operations. They also need to know who you are and what you do. They may be your future applicants to fill your critically needed open positions.
Be a guest speaker at up-coming parent/student recruiting meeting on April 27. Industry people are needed to speak about both logistics and manufacturing at an informational meeting to be held at MTI to recruit students to these academies. This is very important to fill these classes. It has always been a challenge to get parents and students to understand careers available in our industries and to sign-up for these academies.
CONTACT KATHLEEN A. CROWLEY at [email protected] or 352-840-5764 to discuss possible ways that you can help. The first two items above are the most critical as we want to have something in place for this fall.