With tough times impacting the economy, a pilot program began recently to train entry-level employees for the businesses and industries at Hillwood Properties’ Alliance Global Logistics Hub in Fort Worth. The goal is to introduce an international program.

Alliance Global Logistics Hub in Fort Worth.
Photo: Courtesy Hillwood.
An entry-level logistics workforce training program recently began at Hillwood Properties’ Alliance Global Logistics Hub in Fort Worth.

The NAFTA corridor’s Interstate 35 sits on the doorstep of Alliance. The global logistics hub features an intermodal facility with two Class I rail lines and the world’s first 100% industrial airport as well as state and interstate highways and the FedEx Southwest Regional Sort Hub. The industrial park is home to 150 companies and distribution centers.

The Alliance Global Logistics Hub played a central role in the development of a new national model, entry-level logistics workforce training program with Workforce Solutions for North Central Texas and the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council of Wash., D.C.

NASCO (or North America’s SuperCorridor Coalition Inc.) joined the partnership to assist with the workforce certificate program as part of its core Knowledge Corridor Initiative.

The MSSC is an industry-led, training, assessment and certification system focused on the core skills and knowledge needed by the nation’s production and supply chain logistics workers. The initial training is being funded by a grant from the Department of Labor, Steve Boecking, Hillwood vice president, told Texas Construction magazine.

The Tarrant County College’s Corporate Services campus at Alliance, off IH-35W in north Fort Worth, is the National Center of Excellence for training the trainers of the certificate programs. In addition to student classes, the program will offer training for instructors across the country to learn how to teach the certification program.

NASCO’s intent is to help the national logistics training program - shaped by industry - to successful launched all along the tri-national NASCO Corridor through the heartland of North America. The program goal is to become established quickly as the national standard worker training credential for entry and intermediate-level front-line workers in the logistics, materials handling and supply chain management industry.

From Mexico City to Quebec, NASCO members and supporters have signaled that high-quality, entry-level logistics workforce development training is a need essential for economic development of the industry.

“The ultimate goal is to increase the size and skills of the available workforce for entry-level warehousing employees,” Boecking says. “We’ve been working on establishing the program for about three years. Our first class started May 20.

“It will be global and it will be great for employers,” he adds. “We started out with a grant funding us to train about 250 people.” That should run out in August, he says, and the program anticipates more grant funding.

The week-long classes are taught at Tarrant County College’s Corporate Services campus at Alliance.

The MSSC training and certification system provides a certified logistics associate certificate and a mid-level logistics technician certification credential to participants for employment in the industry anywhere in the U.S. and the rest of North America.

The certifications offer front-line logisticsworkers a chance to document their skills and provide a way to secure higher wages, Leo Reddy, CEO of the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council, said in a statement.

“We get a larger and well-trained workforce for the companies located here,” Boecking says. “Before the economy downturn we were targeting high school kids. Now we’re targeting dislocated workers and training returning military veterans.” He adds that the pool of prospective associates is larger than originally anticipated and “while the demand for associates is not high right now, there will be associates trained to create an inventory for when business does turn around.”