Jobs in Logistics on the Rise

WINSTON-SALEM -- A roundtable at Forsyth Technical College sought to educate students about the opportunities in the industry

"When I order something online, I am not thinking about how it gets to me, I just want it to get to me,’’ said Marsha Vacirca, an employee with MercuryGate International, a company that makes logistics software.

Getting things here is a function of the industry called "logistics."

"If you got to a store and goods aren't there, that's where logistics and the supply chain come into play,’’ said Demetria Ledbetter, the program coordinator of the Global Logistics Department at Forsyth Technical College.

Moving things is something North Carolina is uniquely qualified to do with its interstate highways, airports and coastal ports, and location midway on the East Coast.

"We want to talk about being able to move the product across borders safely. We want some visibility. We also want to talk about the costs, savings, optimization," said Vacirca.

It's a growing industry worth billions of dollars a year to the state, along with a double-digit annual growth rate.

It’s wide open for those with training, according to experts at the First Logistics Roundtable at the college, looking to hire students.

Technical experience is key.

"When I got in the industry about 20 years ago, the Internet was just being used, and now we have more specialized,’’ said Ledbetter.

That includes transportation management software produced by MercuryGate. The company partners with tech schools to help train students.

"It allows you to optimize, sort of, your loads, your shipments, get it to the end user, at a reduced cost and of course, improving customer service," said Vacirca

Knowledge of the up-to-date technology is critical.

"You have to upgrade, and many companies that have not upgraded will not be able to move shipments with companies like Walmart," said Ledbetter.

"So, yes, we do need a skilled workforce, that's really quick on their toes, and ready to take the bull by the horns, so to speak," said Vacirca