Meeting a need

Published 10:27 am Friday, August 30, 2013

A class offered in Suffolk this fall by Paul D. Camp Community College will help train a new generation of workers for employment in one of the area’s fastest-growing industries.

With the continuing build-out of the 937-acre CenterPoint Intermodal Center, as well as other warehousing and distribution points throughout Suffolk, there is a growing demand for workers who are trained in warehouse operations. Paul D. Camp, with the help of Amadas Industries and Franklin-Southampton Charities, is working to fill the demand.

The college’s new forklift and reach truck course will help students become certified to operate the equipment, which is integral to the work done in the warehouses and distribution centers that have recently opened in Suffolk, along with others that are currently in the planning stages.

The course will include training in Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations at the college’s Kenyon Road campus in Suffolk. But even more important will be the hands-on training the students will receive at Amadas, where they will learn to use the equipment in a working warehouse.With the expansion of the Panama Canal, ports all along the East Coast — including right here in Hampton Roads — are gearing up for the next generation of cargo ships, and communities with the facilities necessary for unpacking, repacking and moving that cargo will be in a fine position to capitalize on the business. But even the best, most automated warehousing and distribution facilities still rely on well-trained workers to move the process along.

The new partnership between Paul D. Camp Community College and Amadas Industries should ensure that Suffolk has a good supply of highly trained individuals to support this growing industry. It’s a fine example of the college seeing a need in the community and stepping in to meet it.