Transportation and Logistics on the Move

The logistics and supply chain management industry is on the move, and the University of North Florida’s Division of Continuing Education is helping area employers keep up.

UNF has helped more than 300 professionals attain a Certification in Transportation and Logistics (CTL), which helps them advance their careers while supporting their employer’s growth and the region’s economic development.Tim Giles small

“Providing companies and organizations like Jaxport with a more skilled and qualified workforce makes them more competitive, which makes Jacksonville more competitive as a port city,”

Tim Giles Director of Continuing Education

“Companies are emphasizing professional development so people can move into roles of greater responsibility within those organizations,” Giles said. “We hear from people who’ve gone through the programs, or from companies who’ve sent people through the programs, that they’re astounded by the knowledge that students are coming out with.”

UNF’s CTL Cohort Program is a jointly sponsored program by the American Society of Transportation and Logistics, Inc (ASTL)., the University of North Florida Coggin College of Business, Transportation and Logistics Flagship Program and the Division of Continuing Education. Designed for leaders and supervisors in the logistics and supply chain industry or individuals wanting to pursue or advance their career in transportation and logistics, it is the only ASTL cohort program in Florida and the largest of its kind in the country.

Admission is granted on a case-by-case basis, based on education and/or experience. Students can be employed, unemployed or underemployed.Lori small

“Some of these folks in the industry might have started out by sweeping the floor. They might have the experience but not the degree,”

Lori Frederick Program Director

Business owners can avail themselves of the program by sending employees or seeking applicants from among its participants.

“Companies appreciate the commitment that students make to additional education and training”, Frederick said. “It’s going to help somebody open doors that might not have opened without it.

“It may help them move their career from one level to the next or move their resume up in the stack. It certainly may help somebody who doesn’t have that logistics experience get into the industry.”

According to UNF, driven by an expanding economy and businesses, the logistics and supply chain management industry is among the fastest-growing industries in Florida, according to UNF. CTL program organizers say, employers need to fill thousands of jobs, from entry-level to management, to support this growth.

According to UNF, Industry growth is particularly strong in Florida given the state’s role in international trade and the cargo being shipped through its ports. Locally, companies doing business at the Port of Jacksonville already directly employ more than 7,000 workers and support an additional 38,000indirect jobs, and thousands of new jobs will be created through the port’s continued expansion, according to UNF.Brett Harper small

“Third-party logistics (3PL) providers and other companies can capitalize on the country’s status as the world’s largest importer, as well as opportunities to export to emerging markets like in Asia, where 60 percent of the world’s population lives”

-Brett Harper, a retired APL Logistics executive who is one of the lead instructors for the CTL program.

“How do we get our product there and do it efficiently and effectively to be able to continue to grow as a company? That’s how your supply chain comes into play,” said Harper.

“Companies like Dell, Nike and Wal-Mart have prospered by properly managing their supply chains”, Harper said. “When I’m running an efficient operation with just enough inventory to do what I need to do I’m taking cost out of the system.”

Inventory is just a portion of supply chain management though, as complexities like real estate and transportation often must be accounted for as well.

“If you look across industries the logistics industry tends to pay higher and part of that has to do with the shortage of talent but lots of it has to do with the opportunities that exist,” said Harper.

“It’s more than moving boxes around a  warehouse. There’s a lot of different pieces to it.”

179235040UNF’s CTL program shows students all the pieces. The program is broken down into five modules  (Understanding Business; Transportation; Supply Chain Management; International Logistics; and Logistics and Supply Chain Management and Strategy) with 24 hours of classroom instruction for each. Students must also write a paper of at least 3,000 words at the program’s conclusion.

“They walk away with not only the global perspective but the supply chain methodology,” Harper said.

A student may enter the program knowing only about their experience working in a warehouse, but they will come to learn how supply chain management can positively impact a company by allowing it to take advantage of lower labor rates and raw material costs, for example.

“Everything you see at any point in time has been on a truck or in a warehouse,” Harper said. “There’s a lot of movement of product behind the scenes that the average person doesn’t see. It’s a huge industry with lots of employment opportunities.”

UNF’s CTL program runs four cohorts a year and the next is scheduled to begin in mid-October. It will be the 24th cohort since the program started in 2009.

Harper said. “If someone wants to understand the industry, whether they’re inside of it or outside of it, it’s a great opportunity to do that because we cover the entire industry from end to end.”

Click here to learn about UNFs CTL program


Industry Wages

The Logistics and Distribution industry pays employees above average wages as it seeks to develop new workers to meet demand, according to the following statistics cited by the University of North Florida.

  • Average annual wage for Logistics & Distribution Industry: $57,306
  • Average annual wage for all industries in Florida: $36,804
  • Average wages per hour are 30% higher than average for all industries
  • Projected number of new trained workers needed yearly in Florida is 11,000


Source: Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation, Labor Market Statistic Center

What is said about the course

The following comments are from responses that students who recently completed the Certification in Transportation and Logistics program at UNF provided in their end-of-class reviews.

  • “It was great information and a pleasure to learn.”
  • “Terrific class with practical application every day on the job. I’ve been using it every day at work.”
  • “Tons of information that I’ll use in future employment.”
  • “Had tangible real world experience. Easy to relate.”
  • “Has helped me grow my book of business threefold since the start of the class.”

Source: University of North Florida, Division of Continuing Education


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