BLG Logistics prepares 33 high school students for skilled work

06.05.16 GACC South News, GACC South Atlanta - News-Hauptkategorie

Students from four Alabama high schools graduated with certifications that allow them to start careers in logistics.

By Drew Taylor Staff Writer for Tuscaloosa News

Vance, AL (May 5) - Over the years, Cerit Bryant has noticed how common it is for high school students to have no practical experience for the real world after graduation.

Bryant, director of human resources for BLG Logistics, said that through career technical programs, especially in logistics, more students are receiving skills to enter the workforce.“

Logistics is not a normal curriculum in higher education,” Bryant said. “At the end of the one year, we have a qualified work force of anywhere between 20 and 40 people.”

On Thursday, 33 students from across the area met at Brookwood High School to receive their graduation certificates from the BLG Academy, a one-year program that teaches students about logistics and gives them hands-on experience in the field through work at a facility.

The program, which was started by BLG in 2012, is a collaboration between many area organizations and businesses, such as ARD Logistics, the Tuscaloosa County School System and the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern United States.

Stefanie Jehlitschka, vice president of the German American Chamber, said the program serves a variety of purposes for both employers and potential employees.

“The employee builds a loyalty to the company that trains them and the company gets to know the possible future employee,” she said. “What better combination do you have of the person already knowing your company through the training, building a trust and the company knowing the skill set of what that future employee has.”

In 2012, the graduating class included just eight students. This year’s 33-student graduation included students from Brookwood High, Bessemer City High, Bibb County Career Academy and Paul W. Bryant High. Students from West Blocton High are also enrolled in the program.

“It feels good that I have something to fall back on right out of high school, learning a new trade,” said Chase Cochran, a senior at Brookwood who will be begin working fulltime for BLG in the upcoming months.

Program leaders congratulated the students on their achievements.

“A lot of times when you leave high school, you step into a big unknown,” said Courtney Waters, sales and marketing representative for ARD Logistics. “I applaud you all for taking this step into a career-centric program at 17 and 18 years old.”

Jehlitschka said logistics is a growing field that demands a strong workforce.

“What we know in Germany, 16 and 17-year-olds are entering the workforce in these programs,” Jehlitschka said. “I think this should absolutely should be the future of education and training.”

According to SelectUSA, U.S. logistics and transportation industry spending totaled to approximately $1.33 trillion in 2012, which represents an nearly 8.5 percent of annual gross domestic product.

BLG Logistics does business with many companies, including Mercedes-Benz, which invested $70 million toward the creation of a 900,000-square-foot logistics center at its Vance plant in 2013.

Last month, the Tuscaloosa County Board of Education approved the beginning phase of taking up space in the old Brookwood High building to start a logistics training program that would place all students in one location.

Approximately $163,050 has been earmarked for that project.

“It's a response to a need stated by our industry partners in the automotive cluster with regard to logistics,” said Dennis Duncan, director of the Tuscaloosa County School System's career technical education programs.

Graduates in this year’s program include the following:

- Brookwood High -- Benjamin Bailey, Chase Cochran, Chelsey Dickinson, Jamison Elam, Lucas Hubbard, Cameron McCormack, Jason Short, Richard Winkleblack and Garrett Jordan.

- Bessemer High -- William Jeffries, Tiffany Yelling, Kierra Varner, Stevonna Davis, Michaela Harris, Antonette Ramsey, Ma’Kayla Banks, Ananda Danzy, Kimani McGuire and Vontrice Gaines.

- Bibb County -- Derrick Lilly, Breanna Garrett and, Leroy Phillips

- Bryant High -- Levon Baker Jr., Xavion Bennett, Rayshaun Bradley, Eric Hayward, Tyler Neal, Brandon Pritchett, Tyhjerman Sledge, Tynara Taylor-Miller, Tracy Windham Jr., Raven Witherspoon and Banzie Wynn.

 

Reach Drew Taylor at drew.taylor@tuscaloosanews.com or 205-722-0204.

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