Talking Logistics to Students

Talking Logistics to Students

Copyright 2007, Traffic World, Inc.

This is in regards to the article in the Jan. 29 issue of Traffic World about college students'' limited interest in logistics/transportation management. I think in order to make someone interested in a career path, they need to know such a path exists.

Students talk about being engineers, doctors and lawyers because of the status. Many don''t think of the other various fields to specialize in.

Students may think of management in terms of big corporate buildings and fancy offices like they see on TV, not a truck terminal or small office complex. What students might not realize is that when these big corporations downsize, they normally begin with management.

This is not the case in our industry. Our industry offers job security unlike most other management careers.

Our industry might be better served if we approached these students at the high school level, rather then waiting until they are in college. If students interested in a business management degree can be reached at this level and get informed about the advantages of a career in logistics, we''ll see not just more people interested in our field, but better quality people as well.

A vocation course offered in high schools would be a great way to get kids educated and trained. There are people who can''t afford college but who would make excellent employees if they had training available to them. Once employed, earning a paycheck and having a future to look forward to, they could seek higher education either on their own or through their employer.

Also, during school breaks, students could perform co-op work for logistic/ transport companies that are willing to contribute to the programs'' success.

Several years ago, the restaurant industry was experiencing a shortage of workers. High schools capitalized on this by expanding home economics courses to include culinary arts. This changed the focus from just learning to cook, to learning to cook as a career. Colleges all over the country now offer hospitality management courses, which supply many employees for that industry.

Initiating [logistics and transportation] programs in our high schools could be challenging, but I feel the rewards to both our industry and society would make it a worthwhile endeavor.

Mark A. Smith

Logistics Manager, Safety Director

John Greene Logistics, Greene Transport

Titusville, Fla.