The theme of this year’s event was “People, Programs and Partnerships,” and also debuted the new MHI Career & Technical Education growth model focused on program growth and sustainability.
* By Viché Thomas *
Every summer, MHI’s Career & Technical Education (CTE) program presents the CTE Educators Summit. This event brings together educators from the universities, community colleges, technical schools, high schools and correctional facilities who teach students the skills necessary to succeed in jobs in warehousing, distribution, logistics and supply chain.
The 10th annual event was held this past July and hosted by Vincennes University Logistics Training & Education Center of Plainfield, IN. Over four days, 28 participants—who included instructors, program directors and administrators—connected with their peers and shared best practices direct from their classrooms. Summit attendees represented programs from across the country and at different stages of development: from well-established, long-standing programs to schools investigating the possibility of creating their own supply chain-related CTE program.
This year’s theme was “People, Programs and Partnerships,” a nod to the elements critical for growing and sustaining a high quality CTE program. After an initial day of networking and team building activities, each of the subsequent days of the Summit focused on best practices discussions about a different aspect of the theme. Multiple sessions during each day included peer presentations, vendor demos, action planning and facility tours.
The first full day kicked off with a state of the industry presentation from MHI Executive Vice President of Strategic Development Doug Reed. Later, the CTE educators toured MHI member Toyota Material Handling USA manufacturing and training facility in Columbus, IN.
“Including industry tours is a great asset to these events,” said Reed. “They keep the educators up-to-date and current with the equipment and systems in these facilities and the type of worker necessary to run them.”
As the industry and technology changes, so does the job of the CTE instructor, continues Reed. He noted that the Summit helps participating educators keep up with new trends—such as the growth of e-commerce, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), mobile and wearable computing, as well as robotics and automation—so they can keep their programs fresh and relevant.
“Finding a workforce already trained in the skills crucial to manufacturing and supply chain has become a huge need for employers,” added Reed. “As this need grows, more education and training programs must be established nationwide. That’s where the MHI CTE program can help.”
And help it has, said James Dolan, Director of Logistics at host school Vincennes University, a two-year program that combines classroom instruction with hands-on learning in a 40,000-square-foot warehouse. Dolan has been attending the Summit whenever possible since 2011, when his program first began.