Mike Ammann, president and CEO of the San Joaquin Partnership based in Stockton, CA, says that San Joaquin County is seeing an increase in highly-skilled logistics-related jobs, which in turn creates new educational requirements for workers. This requires increased emphasis on logistics education and training for students at community colleges, such as San Joaquin Delta College where Johnathan Cardiel is an associate professor of logistics and transportation. The San Joaquin Partnership is “supporting his efforts to train and educate new students for the new e-commerce workforce.”

In addition, Ammann says, there is an increase in research being done to improve product handling which impacts the supply chain including California agriculture. For example, there is a new science, called Analytics, which companies use to predict market trends. Courses in Analytics are being offered at the University of the Pacific located in Stockton. Companies use visual analysis of fruits and vegetables, so as to sort them by size and quality for loading and shipping to end-users. This computerized system is making California agriculture, where growers in the San Joaquin Valley are major exporters, more automated. This sorting process requires a new level of analysis, more sophisticated software and trained people to operate and oversee the process. This system is beginning to replace hand sorting. And so, the typical farmworker will be somebody who increasingly needs to operate systems in order to deliver crops to market.

Cardiel told AJOT: “More resources need to be invested in preparing entry-level workers for the new jobs in warehousing and manufacturing.”

Cardiel wants to encourage partnerships with warehousing and logistics companies in San Joaquin County so companies will encourage their employees to attend classes at San Joaquin Delta College. In this way, he believes, the employees can improve their knowledge of the industry and be better-educated and more valuable employees. Cardiel is building “an advisory committee composed of executives from local companies to advise me on how to tailor logistics classes to meet their needs. I call this demand driven curriculum. Input from industry is key.”

“We have a lot of good kids who want to do the right thing and are motivated but have not had the educational support to take on a quality job.”

Cardiel says having good math skills is vital: “You need to have good math skills to be able to keep track of numbers, quantities and to make sure that orders are completed correctly. A lot of my kids want to learn and get a decent paying job. But our society, with this emphasis on phones, texting and staring at screens discourages them from reading and writing, so literary skills often suffer.”

Cardiel is teaching a class in Business English because students lack the ability to communicate effectively. He wants them to be able to clearly write sentences so that, for example, they can respond to an inquiry from a supervisor in a coherent manner.

Cardiel is an Iraq war veteran who recently retired from the U.S. Army. He sees a deterioration in values that discourages kids from doing what would have been standard a generation ago. The result, he says, is that schools are trying to teach students so-called ‘soft skills’, or common sense skills, such as punctuality, responsiveness and being respectful to others. “I learned these skills as a young man and I taught them to others in the Army.”

Cardiel is also very concerned about the lack of focus on vocational education. He says the emphasis in high schools on encouraging students to go to college discourages them from thinking or training for skills in industries such as warehousing and manufacturing where they can make a decent wage and standard of living.