Contact: Cherie Yurco;
For immediate release — Dec. 15, 2021
(DALLAS) — Enrollment in the
Dallas College Logistics and Manufacturing Technology Associate of Applied Science degree program was up 31% this fall, and growth for continuing education (CE) classes in logistics was even greater. As pandemic-related delays and expanded online ordering put a squeeze on distribution systems, Dallas College is poised to help alleviate the national bottleneck as students flock to the college for training that is critical to our economy.
“At its core, logistics begins with you and me as consumers. Whether we purchase items online or in person, logistics professionals make sure they are available,” said Michael Gallaway, lead faculty member, logistics and supply chain management, at Dallas College North Lake Campus. “Logistics includes planning, purchasing, warehousing, customer service and transportation, both domestic and international.”
Of late, supply chain delays have become a hot topic in the media. Gallaway said that the bare shelves at the start of the pandemic and current shipping delays are examples of supply chain disruptions.
Professor Michael Gallaway draws high praise from student Jeff Shepherd. “He’s one of the greatest professors I’ve ever had because he’s extremely knowledgeable about the industry," said Shepherd.
“While shortages at the beginning of the pandemic were caused by consumer fear and hoarding, current supply chain disruption is caused by extended lead times,” he said. “Items shipped from the Far East (e.g., China) will normally take 14 days to arrive at West Coast ports and then be distributed across the United States. In some cases, that lead time has been extended to 45-60 days. In addition, intermittent COVID shutdowns at manufacturers have caused a surge of product that is above the capacity of some West Coast ports like L.A./Long Beach.”
While Gallaway predicts things to normalize in the next three to six months, the demand for logistics workers will continue to be strong. Prior to the pandemic, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated a 30% increase in logistics employment (and 24,500 annual job openings) through 2030. However, sudden escalation in online ordering has fueled more rapid growth.
Logistics Program Draws Working Adults, Career Changers
Jeff Shepherd’s interest in logistics grew out of his curiosity about the supply chain process. “I’ve always been interested in the journey of products — where they came from before they got into my home,” said the first-year logistics student. “I’ve seen a surge in logistics opportunities.”
Shepherd currently works in marketing and is hoping to launch a logistics career once he earns an associate degree. He already has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/communications and a master’s in publication/graphic design. He believes that the new degree, coupled with his experience as a project manager, will lead to entry into the exciting field.
The current student population in this program is about 65-70% nontraditional adult students looking to advance in their current careers or change careers, like Shepherd. All the coursework is offered online. “We’re working adults, and being able to take online classes affords me the flexibility to work while I pursue this career,” he said.
Texas is second only to California, employing 15,170 logisticians as of May 2020, with the metropolitan area of Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington employing 5,120 on its own. New local logistics facilities are being planned and built at an accelerated pace in the region.
Gallaway attributes local growth to two things. “First, companies are coming to the DFW area for general business reasons. The cost of doing business is lower as compared to other parts of the country. Second, the DFW area is considered an inland port because product can be distributed to most parts of the country in two to three days. If there is a need to move product faster, we have major airports that can accommodate that need.”
Logistics student Jeff Shepherd is a nontraditional adult student, like many of his classmates, looking to change careers.
Dallas College has been instrumental in helping industry partners grow a skilled workforce to meet their needs through the
Southern Dallas Inland Port — a 120-square-mile area that encompasses five cities and 100,000 residents. It is the base of operations for 110-plus employers and local logistics facilities that will require a trained workforce.
“At Dallas College, we are training students to fill entry-level logistics positions such as first-line supervisors, transportation, storage and distribution managers, shipping, receiving, inventory, procurement, production planning and expediting clerks,” said Gallaway.
Shepherd said that Gallaway has been instrumental in helping him understand the field. “He’s one of the greatest professors I’ve ever had because he’s extremely knowledgeable about the industry. We’ve spent time talking through the process, the program and the various opportunities,” said Shepherd.
As a Navy veteran, Shepherd’s education is funded through the Hazlewood Act, and he takes advantage of support offered through Dallas College
Military-Connected Services. “They’ve been extremely helpful with the paperwork I need to register,” said Shepherd.
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