February 2010 | Commentary | Checking In

America's Got Supply Chain Talent

Tags: Education & Careers, Industry Associations

Felecia Stratton is the editor of Inbound Logistics magazine.

Every state says it wants to attract logistics business that can keep its workforce employed. Florida is actually doing something about it. The state has gotten behind the Talent Supply Chain, an association of state, local, education, and business organizations whose goal is to boost Florida's economy by encouraging and expanding workforce development, training, and job retention across the state. While the association is supported by the state, its driving forces are the education and business communities.

Florida fully supports this association because it recognizes that creating a business-friendly climate goes beyond low taxes, reasonable regulatory oversight, and "getting government out of the way of business to spur economic growth," as Florida Governor Charlie Crist said at a recent jobs summit. Developing a business-friendly environment takes a workforce equipped to meet the demands of businesses in a more global economy.

And here's the exciting part—one of the hottest segments of the Talent Supply Chain is actually the supply chain! According to labor market statistics, approximately 500,000 workers in Florida perform distribution and logistics tasks—earning 33 percent more pay than the state average. When you look at the future demand for logistics practitioners, the trend is up.

In Florida, logistics skills will be in demand for the foreseeable future. Consider the coming expansion of the Panama Canal, current transport infrastructure investments at the ports, the anticipated growth of trade and logistics activity, and the expected baby boom retiree influx that will spur in-state shipment activity. Tracking that growth is the investment in logistics training by the state, the education community, individual businesses, and business organizations.

The public/private collaboration of Talent Supply Chain members is not just concerned about today's unemployment numbers; it has tomorrow's numbers in sight. The Talent Supply Chain has developed a long-term vision and plan because they know that it takes years to bear solid results for businesses and their workers, and they realize that the time to invest in logistics education is now. The association is working to create programs that ensure a next generation of skilled supply chain and logistics practitioners.

Can you apply Florida's example to your career by using some of the logistics education resources in this issue? How about in your community by allying with businesses, schools, and public resources? The time to build your own Talent Supply Chain is now.