CTE leads to employability in transportation, distribution, and logistics sector

Adult male standing near boxes in a distribution center

As I noted in my last blog post, career and technical education (CTE) is a valuable tool providing learners with technical, academic, and employability skills that prepare them for careers in specific fields, from engineering to agriculture to hospitality. In a unique partnership between Pearson and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), I will look at an equally compelling career pathway in another rapidly growing sector fueled by CTE programs: Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics.

Transportation, distribution, and logistics was a $1.3 trillion industry in 2012, and professionals in the field supervise the movement of more than 50 million tons of goods daily. Workers inspect, maintain, and repair vehicles and transit routes, manage supply chains, coordinate traffic, and deliver goods. The number of employees in the field is projected to grow over the next few years, eventually numbering 12 million by 2018. Employees who use technology to streamline distribution, such as logisticians, avionics technicians, and cargo and freight agents, will see the strongest increase in their numbers. Many of these jobs are available to those with high school diplomas, and others are open to those with two year degrees or specific industry-recognized credentials.

However, the amount of education required for many jobs in this field is, as in other industries, increasing. By 2018, up to 40 percent of jobs in this sector will require some postsecondary education. Therefore, it is essential that students interested in careers in transportation, distribution, and logistics have the opportunity to take advantage of innovative programs that will keep them engaged in the classroom and provide them with the skills they need to begin their careers.

Young men learning automotive skills leading to employabilityOne example of such a program is the FATE (Foundation for Applied Technical Education) Student Auto Sales program in Fairfax, Virginia. This program, which ACTE reported on in our second microdocumentary, Automotivated is a partnership between two Virginia high schools that is designed to prepare students for the automotive jobs of tomorrow. The program functions as a licensed dealership where students receive damaged cars, fix them, and resell them. Students enter the program at all levels of experience with automotive technology and graduate with employability in the field or continue their education if they desire. One student profiled in the micro-documentary, Nelson Hernandez, entered GM’s Automotive Service Educational Program (ASEP) at his local community college upon his graduation.

Two more program examples include Arapahoe Community College in Colorado, which partners with major car manufacturers like GM, Honda, Nissan, and Chrysler to offer programs accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation, and Ballard Maritime Academy Foundation in Seattle, which allows high school students to take classes in boating, shipyard and vessel construction, maritime law, and oceanography, and supplements these classes with labs and paid internships. In this field, like many other CTE career pathways, internships and other work-based learning opportunities can be useful for students seeking work experience. ACTE’s “Taking Business to School” series contains an article on the partnership between UPS and several colleges and universities in Kentucky, which allowed students to work part time for UPS in exchange for receiving a large discount on their postsecondary education.

Transportation, distribution, and logistics is a varied sector that offers potential for employment in many different occupations. However, getting hired requires credentials and skill-building offered by CTE programs. ACTE’s microdocumentaries (Microdocs) and Sector Sheet series provide more information about opportunities in this sector and can serve as tools for those who wish to work toward Pearson’s goal of using education to improve not just the lives of students, but the lives of all those who benefit from a prepared, stable, and growing workforce.  


About the Author
LeAnn Wilson

LeAnn Wilson

LeAnn Wilson has served as the executive director of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) since her appointment in 2013, after having served as ACTE’s chief financial officer since 2005. Through her leadership role, Wilson has gained a deep appreciation for the work that America’s career and technical education (CTE) professionals do every day to equip their students with the skills they will need to keep our country strong, and she has strived to raise awareness of CTE among policymakers and the public. She has demonstrated exemplary leadership during her time with ACTE, including the development of sound institutional financial strategies to ensure long-term organizational stability and growth. Wilson has served in a variety of financial positions during her career, including 16 years in nonprofit association environments. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the University of Maryland, College Park, and currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband, Terry, and two daughters, Kelly and Samantha.