The National Center for Supply Chain Automation (SCA), in partnership with Walmart E-commerce and the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE), hosted a Workforce Development forum focused on the Supply Chain Technician (SCT) occupation on February 22, 2017 in Davenport, Florida. More than 30 local and national industry representatives, all with a need to hire skilled technicians, traveled in for the forum. They were greeted by academic professionals representing eight colleges from across the state, which teach engineering and mechatronics programs that are similar to the SCA model program.
The forum was held at a brand new Walmart E-commerce center and included a group tour of the highly automated, state-of-the-art operation. During the program, industry presentations made by various firms focused on their current and future need for SCTs, their challenges in recruiting skilled people for these positions, and their desire to find academic partners to work with to address the automation technician workforce shortage. Best-in-class examples of internship, apprenticeship and technician training programs were showcased. Academics from the region also made presentations about their educational institutions and highlighted details about their engineering and mechatronics programs.
These “Industry-Education Ecosystem Building” events provide an opportunity for industry and education to connect in a unique way to discuss mutual challenges and solutions. Having an SCA industry partner host the event at an automated facility provides context to educators unfamiliar with the role of the technician in a 21st century automated fulfillment center.
There was a high level of networking taking place before the forum, between presentations and while walking during the tour. Opportunities to partner were discussed, business cards were exchanged and real connections were made. As a solutions-based resource, all of the industry representatives who participated were given detailed contact information for each college, each key administrator or professor and information about the college’s programmatic focus.
After the forum, industry partners departed for a tour of the labs and teaching facilities at Hillsborough Community College. This brings industry professionals to campus to provide them with a better understanding of the college programs, how training is conducted in the labs and forges a true connection with a prospective academic partner.
For more information about future Industry-Driven Workforce Development Forums, contact Steve Harrington @firstname.lastname@example.org.