NTX Magazine Volume 4 - Page 66

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHTS Education he explains, is able to work with people in the industry and, in a relatively short period of time, develop a certificate providing timely training to fill that gap. In developing these short-term programs, the college can move quickly and nimbly, partnering with its credited side to offer learning that will take root and grow professionals for the burgeoning industry. As Hardy says, “It’s a beautiful marriage inside a community college.” It’s not necessarily about just developing courses: It is creating opportunities and developing schedules, filling a needsbased opportunity driven by students coming back. How do they identify what’s needed? Hardy says there’s a plethora of ways to know what classes are needed, including examining labor market data and even reading help wanted ads. Many times, it’s not training for a job, but rather training for a skill set, since job titles change but skill sets ensure a career path. By working with chambers of commerce, Collin College is able to train not only for one post, but also for large areas. By being able to provide customized training, Collin College is able to provide full-time solutions. As quickly as industry moves, it’s imperative to move at the pace of industry. Higher education is reinventing themselves for what is needed in the industry. There are people taking classes at Collin College that have degrees yet want to retrain, and sometimes their companies need them to retrain. Collin College also works with businesses to do customized contract training. Whatever is needed to train one person or 300 people, they find it, whether it’s customer service or leadership roles, cyber security or steam machines. If they don’t have instructors needed for that specialty, they contact businesses and experts in the field or community to instruct the classes. “We even teach truck driving,” said Hardy. “We have the ground covered from the managerial office position to the over-the-road trucking industry.” Dr. Pohlen with UNT points out that with the increased use of trucking to fill the needs of mov- 64 www.ntc-dfw.org Winter/Spring 2015 ing goods through the supply chain, being a truck driver has now taken on a new respect. As the economy recovers, there will be more of a demand for drivers. Driver pay increases and nontraditional sources for drivers, such as minorities and women, will need to be given a priority. Companies will be redesigning their driver programs so drivers are not away from home long periods of time, as it’s the lifestyle that causes people to stay away from the profession. Pohlen says it’s imperative to work with the industry and establish programs to educate drivers, focusing heavily on security and safety on highways, and to establish good driving habits, as well as using IT to manage resources. Currently there are 600,000 trucking companies in the U.S. and 94 percent operate six or fewer trucks, resulting in many small companies under pressure to deliver at a minimum cost. That usually comes at the expense of the driver. But this will change with the demand of intermodal movement in North Texas. “The driver shortage will be solved by managing drivers and trucking companies much better than in the past, by educating drivers to take care of themselves and their families better, and by raising the professionalism of the driver,” Pohlen says. “Taking care of them will make them want to take care of their customers.” This change is coming from all areas of education -- from producing better executives that make better decisions, to training effective managers, to creating a work atmosphere that values the employees, to being a conscientious employee. Everyone matters in the workforce chain. And, if you’re a smart recruiter, you begin to groom your talent at an early age. You look to your college graduates, to your vocational education programs, to your junior colleges and to your middle and high school students. Middle and high schoolers? That’s right, and North Texas’s White Settlement Independent School District’s (WSISD) program is one to watch. Regina Watkins of WSISD’s Brewer High School Career and Technical Education (CTE) explains that they are expanding their current energy, power and transportation classes to add transportation systems, which will include heavy logistics, and will also be adding courses based on demand and direction of the program -- like aviation technology and logistics, planning and management -- a