Most Viewed Stories
AWC offers logistics degree
Logistics is not a well-known profession but it has been an important part of the Yuma economy, and Arizona Western College now offers both certificated and degreed programs.
Logistics now accounts for 10 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, says Matthew Anderson, associate dean of business and liberal arts. Anderson, along with academic and financial leaders, introduced a new curriculum to serve the profession at the Francis Morris board room in the 3C building Thursday.
Anderson defines logistics as the efficient flow and storage of goods from point of origin to point of consumption. It is the whole process of what gets a lettuce seed from the fields into a cut salad of packaged mixed greens to the grocer's shelf.
And given the importance of this family of professions, AWC is offering a wide range of courses to prepare employees. Not only is there a basic and advanced certificate program but an associate of applied science degree that prepares graduates for supervisory positions in warehouse management, Anderson said.
"With our pilot program started in July, we're currently serving 100 students. They will be prepared to move into jobs in import/export, inventory, transportation commodities, process engineering and quality control. Logistics has an important regional significance."
Julie Engel, president and CEO of the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corp., said logistics has been a mainstay of the Yuma economy and already employs many people. She cited Desert Depot as a thriving logistics operation using the latest technologies to transport goods to Mexico.
Yuma is in the epicenter of a 500-mile radius of an unfathomable population who represent untold profit potential with particular opportunities existing south of the border, she said.
"Our port of entry is sophisticated as our logistics so we might as well marry the two. We can then take advantage of our strategic location and grow this economy. And with the AWC program, we'll have a trained work force who can be hired immediately."
An important part of Yuma's ability to grow economically is GYEDC's partnership with the Yuma Private industry Council, which often helps furnish the training that provides the skills Yuma industry needs, she added.
John Morales, YPIC executive director, said one of the reasons Yuma is such a great place to work is it is not difficult to find collaborative partners.
Several years ago, four border counties formed Innovation Frontier Arizona and worked on bringing economic development and workforce development organizations to community colleges and universities , he said.
"By coming together, we were fortunate enough to get a Department of Labor grant. And once organized, we went after community-based job training grants."
Marc Nigliazzo, AWC president, said for the past several months, the college was was accelerating its focus on meeting community needs. With the new supply chain and logistics curriculum, AWC can expand opportunity for development and strengthen the quality of the work force, he said.
"And those two things will strengthen our longtime economy and ability to attract economic activity."