Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Brookwood High Logistics Training Program to Expand with Addition of Two Area Schools

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Brookwood High Logistics Training Program to Expand with Addition of Two Area Schools

Article excerpt

A program started last year at Brookwood High School to train students for jobs in logistics will be expanded this fall to include students at two additional area high schools -- Paul W. Bryant and Bessemer.

It's all being done to get more skilled workers into the growing field of logistics -- the orderly and efficient movement of goods and components. Logistics has become more important in manufacturing, particularly in the automotive industry, where hundreds of components are used in every vehicle and the finished vehicles are shipped worldwide.

BLG Logistics Inc., which has about 800 employees at four locations in Tuscaloosa County, helped start the program at Brookwood High last year. It based the program on the German-style dual-apprenticeships offered in schools in BLG's home country, where high school students attend part of the day in traditional classes, and then take apprenticeship training, learning logistics in a classroom and then applying that at a work site during an extended school day. The students spend 10 hours a week in the apprenticeship training.

Eight students successfully completed that first one-semester class at Brookwood and all started full-time jobs with BLG the week after their graduation in 2013.

A second class of nine Brookwood high school seniors will complete their training in May. This year's training covered two semesters, said Kirk Atkinson, business development manager for BLG Logistics in the U.S. The training included basic warehouse operation, supply-chain management, the specific needs within BLG operations and appreciation and pride in work.

When the new school year starts in August, the training program is expected to have 40 to 45 seniors. Bryant and Bessemer high schools were added because, after Brookwood, they are the closest high schools to BLG's facilities in Vance, where the training occurs.

The afternoon training will be two semesters plus some additional weeks in the summer. It also will involve BVL International, a European logistics organization, which is helping set up the program so that any students successfully completing the coming school year's program will have met 80 percent of the German Chamber of Commerce's standards.

That could open doors in the future if they wanted to continue in logistics careers in Germany or Europe, Atkinson said.

All businesses in Germany belong to the German Chamber of Commerce, which sets standards that are recognized in much of Europe. Those with the German chamber's certification also could work with German companies around the world.

"The BVL is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting awareness of the importance of logistics and supply chain management in industry, science and the public sphere," said a statement from Steve Markham, president of BLG Logistics Inc. …

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