- A nationwide increase in parcel volumes is shaping the way warehouses operate and the labor needs within them, NPR reported Monday.
- In response to a high demand for warehouse workers, California's Patterson High School created a vocational training program where students enter a "mock warehouse," learning to operate forklifts through virtual reality and work alongside robots.
- Patterson High School is located in a farming district of California, but NPR reports the high need for quick fulfillment to dense urban areas is creating more warehouse jobs in these markets. However, despite available training programs, such jobs have yet to pay enough to sustain families, per NPR.
While the retail e-commerce boom has led to more warehouse construction, the boom has also seen a marked increase in technology — like robots or automated forklifts — within distribution centers to speed fulfillment processes.
Some fear the rise of automated warehouses will displace warehouse workers, but various reports suggest such technology only helps make workers more efficient. However, maintaining and operating a self-driving forklift, creating the warehouse maps that facilitate these processes, and ensuring safety requires proper training.
Fortunately, some schools are seemingly taking up the responsibility for training supply chains' workers, and not just in warehouses. In addition to Patterson High School, one Florida community is educating low-income communities about opportunities in logistics.
Further, corporations, trade associations and even the U.S. government is pushing early vocational programs as a solution to the industry-wide talent crisis. As the supply chain faces increased demands, and relies more heavily on technology, so too will it seek more training options for its workers.