MHI Career & Technical Educators Summit Held in Patterson, CA

The MHI Career & Technical Education Program (CTE) came to Patterson, CA this week for it’s annual Educators Summit. The location was chosen to showcase the model program being developed at Patterson High.

“They have one of the most sophisticated programs in the country,” said Daniel Stanton, vice president of education and workforce development for MHI.

Patterson’s program provides students with basic warehouse entry skills. The school worked with the city of Patterson to help attract warehouse businesses – with employers to tailor the high school program to available jobs. They then partner with Modesto Junior College to line up classes with career certificate and associate degree programs.

“They recognized this need in the community. Patterson had everything it needed to have a supply chain cluster. It had space. It had location (near Interstate 5). And now it has workers. What you need to have to really fuel that (development) is the workforce,” Stanton said. The high school is building that bridge, he said.

“It’s recruiting students and building relationships with industries. Everybody in the country is getting lessons from Patterson in how to do that well,” Stanton said.

MHI recognized the need to develop the supply chain workforce at the high school and community college level years ago and helps support CTE programs by developing curriculum and providing equipment or grants.

Thirty-eight instructors and school administrators from eight states attended this year’s Summit.

The three-day conference showcased a number of existing programs, sharing what they had learned and answering questions for schools looking to add CTE courses in warehousing and the supply chain.

Jim Andersen, dean of career technical education at Merced College, came to get ideas for lining up material handling and logistics courses with business classes the community college already offers to create a kind of academic career ladder.

This approach, mixing hands-on practical knowledge with academic training, needs to be valued by industry employers, said Soledad McCarthy of Skyline College in San Bruno, CA.

Skyline’s program partners with Goodwill Industries, training Goodwill clients in basic academic skills as well as job skills to run the San Francisco facility storing, repairing and shipping out donated goods. The clients/students earn certificates in things like running a forklift that qualify them for jobs at storage facilities anywhere.

The program is part of Skyline’s Career Advancement Academy, which includes counselors with special training for low-income adult issues, tutoring embedded into classes, financial counseling and a cohort system, meaning a group of adults stay together in classes throughout the program.

Patterson Unified Superintendent Phil Alfano has made inviting in employers a priority. The district’s large event center is available to employers for career fairs. It created a business advisory panel for its business logistics program.

The Patterson program has gone from learning to ship free books out of an 800-square-foot facility to planning for an on-campus 10,000-square-foot logistics center expected to be ready for classes in October.

Dave Finley folds school club volunteers into his “Back the Pack” program in Rock Hill, S.C., bringing in manpower to bag Friday food packets for poor kids to eat over the weekend.

“Everything that we take for granted, everything that makes civilization possible,” Stanton said, comes down to logistics and supply chains. That takes manual lifting and other unskilled labor, but increasingly it takes skilled workers who can work – and even more critically, repair – the complex robotic systems used in cutting-edge warehouses.

Click here to learn more about the MHI CTE program.