A new report by the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics predicts that there will be a significant shortage of workers for the logistics industry to draw upon over the next 3 to 5 years as a variety of education institutions are not training enough people to fill the expected number of job openings.

The Georgia Center – a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development – found that based upon U.S. Dept. of Labor data, the U.S. logistics industry is expected to create some 1.08 million jobs nationwide between 2013 and 2016, with roughly 270,020 logistics-related jobs created per year thru 2018, to keep up with projected industry growth.

Yet the 7,642 educational institutions in the U.S. that provide logistics training currently only generate 75,277 formally certified workers annually – thus filling only about 28% of the projected job openings within the logistics industry each year.

Page Siplon, executive director of the Georgia Center, noted that the “logistics education” spectrum includes technical high schools and colleges, post-secondary and graduate-level programs, as well as professional industry certifications. Yet logistics-related classes and even degrees are often not provided as “stand alone” fields of study and are often incorporated into different departments, such as marketing.

To change that, Siplon said a number of tactics should be deployed, including: earlier visibility of logistics in high schools and colleges; increased internships providing real-world experiences; better coordination and support for technical colleges; the reduction or elimination of hurdles for military personnel transitioning into civilian life; and enhanced marketing of logistics education.

“Educators consistently mention that students should be given a more thorough introduction in logistics related careers earlier in the process at both the high school and college levels,” he noted in the report.

“Professors repeatedly cite interactions with college-level students who have their first exposure to a logistics class in their junior year, find it interesting and appealing as a career choice, but feel they are too far along in their current field of study to make a change and delay graduation,” Siplon explained. “Likewise, many high school level programs for career pathways either do not include logistics and transportation at all or rely solely on an automotive class to somehow provide introduction in logistics.”