Distribution property specialist Prologis is helping to bridge the logistics staffing gap by providing a training scheme in the US. Similar programmes may be expected to follow in Europe and Asia.
As competition for staff heats up, distribution companies as well as developers and investors in logistics facilities frequently cite “proximity to a pool of suitable employees” as one of the main criteria for locating logistics facilities, where once drive-times-to-market trumped all.
Unusually for a landlord, Prologis has gone a step further than optimising location and is now involved in the training of 25,000 individuals to provide them with skills in transportation, distribution and logistics.
The programme, called the Prologis Community Workforce Initiative, plans to complete their training by the end of 2025. Prologis says its intention is to “build a talent pipeline for its customers, with an emphasis on revitalising career pathways and creating economic opportunity in the communities where it operates.”
The programme is the expansion of a scheme originally launched in the US and Mexico in 2018 and is being undertaken in partnership with JFF, a not-for-profit organisation which says its aim is to drive transformation in the American workforce and education systems.
The partnerships will begin in locations with growing logistics sectors including Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, as well as Tracy and Long Beach in California. The scheme will be expanded to other cities in 2021.
Schemes in Europe and Asia expected to follow
It is also understood that similar programmes will be rolled out across both Europe and Asia in future.
The Prologis CWI programme in the US will provide an online training platform and logistics curriculum designed by Prologis and JFF. This addresses basic workforce skills and logistics-specific training such as workplace safety and forklift operation.
Prologis says that training materials have been developed with the input of its customers and can be customised to fit a company’s specific needs. Cutomers including GEODIS and NFI Industries have already tested the courses.
Prologis will also partner community-based organisations providing funding for community colleges and workforce development boards who will engage jobseekers through online training resources, connect them with regional employment opportunities and provide additional career guidance, coaching and support services to foster their success as the next generation of logistics talent.
“Serious hiring gap” says Prologis CEO
“Now more than ever, our customers have informed us that they are facing a serious hiring gap, and we believe this collaborative effort can help bridge the connection between the public and private sectors,” Prologis CEO and chairman Hamid Moghadam said in a statement.
In the US Prologis observes that “the need for skilled logistics workers has never been greater, particularly as warehousing and logistics operators strive to meet demand driven by consumers shopping online.”
Prologis gives an indication of the scale of the sector in the US and refers to US Bureau of Labor Statistics which indicate that the US transportation and logistics industry employed 13 million people in 2019. Furthermore, it points out that transportation, warehousing and related fields are projected to add 600,000 new jobs by 2026. In Prologis’ own customer surveys, companies have indicated that labor is a top concern.