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Talented workers key to regional logistics success

While they had ties to Greater Cincinnati, Everything But the House (EBTH) co-founders Brian Graves and Jacquie Denny – and their partners Andy Nielson, Jon Nielsen and Mike Reynolds – could locate their company anywhere.

“Of course, we wanted to base our company here because we’re from Cincinnati,” said Mike Reynolds, COO and CFO at EBTH. “And when we asked for advice about where we should locate our distribution center, we kept hearing we’re in a great logistics city.”

While never intending to be a logistics company, they always knew shipping would be a key component. EBTH’s commitment to efficient customer service encouraged the online estate sale marketplace to wade into the industry. With support from talented regional logistics workers, EBTH now has its first distribution center in Blue Ash.

Greater Cincinnati has a long history of ensuring a company’s goods get where they need to go. While due in part to the region’s central location – within a one-day drive of more than half of the population of the U.S. and Canada – the story goes deeper.

Regional colleges and universities understand the need for well-trained workers and provide specific programming to make Greater Cincinnati an easy choice for companies like EBTH.

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

Cincinnati State is addressing supply chain companies’ workforce needs by feeding the employment pipeline. Whether a student wants to drive a truck, operate a forklift or become a supply chain management supervisor, Cincinnati State provides the necessary skills to step into the job market ready to work.

“We understand the variety of needs Greater Cincinnati employers have for talented workers,” said Amy Waldbillig, vice president of workforce development at Cincinnati State. “We see our job as bridging those needs with relevant, hands-on educational experiences.”

Gateway Community and Technical College

Similarly, at Gateway Community and Technical College, the logistics program can be customized to fill specific training gaps.

“We have more human resources managers asking us to cover soft skills,” said Carissa Schutzman, vice president of workforce solutions at Gateway. “Whether it’s Excel training or communications, today’s logistics jobs need someone who can think logically and creatively.”

Gateway engages these learners even before they reach its campus. One program offers students at Lloyd High School post-secondary credit hours and certification opportunities before they graduate. Launched in 2016, the program is already filling a worker pipeline.

Northern Kentucky University

Students in NKU’s Haile/US Bank College of Business can earn bachelor’s degrees in global supply chain management, which teaches skills to coordinate products, services, capital and information. The school focuses on global exports as programs like the Kentucky Export Initiative open new opportunities for international trade.

“As the global economy expands, supply chain management and logistics becomes more important,” said Dr. Rebecca Porterfield, dean at the Haile/US Bank College of Business at NKU. “Businesses need entry-level employees, mid-level managers and executives – each requiring specialized training.”

NKU works closely with local supply chain businesses to create opportunities for company visits, guest speakers, internships and jobs that prepare students for careers throughout the industry – from production planning and supply chain design to purchasing and customer relations.

Sinclair College

Since its program began in 2009, Sinclair College has relied strongly on data to guide its programming. Currently, the college is working with a transportation software company to give students real-world experience with a tool they will see in the field. This take the learners out of a classroom setting and avoids surprises when they start working.

From employer interview sessions and focus groups to surveys, the college’s staff learns first-hand the skills its students need to move from an entry-level position to a supervisory job, and its curriculum reflects that primary research.

“Students have different needs depending on their previous work experience,” said April Carpenter, associate professor at Sinclair College. “Our goal is to help those students develop the skills they need to progress to the next level.”

Greater Cincinnati is a known destination for logistics. Beyond its easy access to more of the U.S. and Canada, regional colleges and universities equip students with the skills they need to succeed – from the first day on the job to the next promotion.