The Georgia Tech Supply Chain and Logistics Institute (GT-SCL) residing in and supported by the Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), in coordination with Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE), is expanding its Logistics Education And Pathways (LEAP) program with the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Reentry Program to implement services for eligible participants in Chatham, Bibb, and Muscogee Education Transition Centers (ETC).
The goal of the ETCs is to reduce recidivisms and enable participants with the tools, training, and opportunities to move forward as a productive member of society with sustainable employment and a rewarding career. LEAP is a fast-paced certification program that prepares secondary education students to compete for successful high-growth jobs in the supply chain and logistics field, an outcome that is a natural component to the mission of the ETCs.
“I want to thank Georgia Tech for being a great corporate partner in rehabilitating our justice-involved youth,” said Tyrone Oliver, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice. “The LEAP program will help our youth gain valuable skills to aid them towards a brighter future.”
Initially, this partnership began with a pilot program in July of 2019, and culminated when the DJJ’s Chatham ETC hosted their Award Certification Ceremony on the Georgia Tech’s Savannah campus. Expanding this program in 2022 will equip students not only in Chatham County, but now in Bibb and Muscogee Counties with the knowledge, skills, and credentials for careers in the fast-growing Supply Chain and Logistics industry. All the funding for the LEAP program comes from industry partners like the GA Power Foundation, Schneider Foundation and JP Morgan Chase & Co. In addition, DJJ also contributed funding for this successful partnership with the ETCs.
The LEAP program initially covers understanding with the Supply Chain Management Principles course and then the various domains within the supply chain through three other optional courses (i.e., Customer Service, Warehousing Operations, and Transportation Operations). It also explores with students how the supply chain supports organizations’ strategic and financial goals, and current events through subject matter lectures and simulation exercises.
After completing the program, students receive an official GTPE Certificate of Completion for each completed pass/fail LEAP course (Supply Chain Management Principles, Customer Service Operations, Transportation Operations and Warehouse Operations), that are all sanctioned by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. Typically, at their end-of-program, there is an Award ceremony where they receive their professional education certificate from Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE).
“While earning GT Professional Education credentials, attending fieldtrips to Gulfstream, GA Ports Authority, Amazon, or Dynacraft and improving their potential to secure employment in the exploding Savannah Supply Chain Industry, may have served as the initial motivation to attempt the program, the impact was immeasurable. Our students grew in areas that enhanced their self-confidence, work ethic, and intrinsic motivation. As a result, our students view themselves as productive citizens with credentials for quality jobs or careers in their future,” said ArtLisa Alston-Cone, Lead Teacher, DJJ Chatham ETC.
Students have a working knowledge of the fundamentals of Supply Chain and Logistics and will be immediately prepared for internships and job opportunities. Two students completed more than one course, indicating their interest and aptitude in this field. One student who was already working in a distribution operation actually completed four courses, earning a Logistics Fundamentals Program Certificate. After the program in December of 2019 with the DJJ’s Chatham ETC, seven of the eleven graduates received job offers, and another two were scheduled for interviews, making the program a great success. The students in the ETC’s have completed all requirements from the juvenile system. They are in transition to becoming productive members of society. At this point, many students are completing their High School Diploma requirements for graduation or getting their GED. They are typically living with family, a guardian or in a transition home.
“We’ve all had times in our lives when someone has discounted us, intentionally or unintentionally. There will always be that student in the corner who you think couldn’t care less, but given the proper attention and care, they can become a star. It’s easy to predetermine what someone is capable of doing; but when these students take this program, the lightbulb goes off, and they become interested and develop a passion and confidence because of this course,” said Charles Easley Jr., GT-SCL Project Director and Instructor.
The program is delivered in a cohort format so that the students always feel supported not only by the instructors but by their classmates as well. Students receive educational content but also learn how to integrate their training in the real world, so they are prepared to perform in the workplace. Students are taken on field trips with the support of community partners to learn how to apply their knowledge and see first-hand how the supply chain operates. In previous years, students were taken to Georgia Tech’s Atlanta campus to explore The Ferst Center for the Arts, The Supply Chain and Logistics Institute, and The H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) so they could see what options are open to them for their future working careers. During these visits they were able to participate in student information sessions, see the innovative technology in the ISyE Physical Internet Lab and interact with faculty like Benoit Montreuil, Tim Brown, GT-SCL, and role models like Gen. Ron Johnson, Professor of the Practice, and ISyE Student Ambassadors. Students were also taken to Gulfstream in Savannah and The Georgia Fair where they participated in a hands-on project to map out the supply chain process for food.
About the LEAP Program
GTSCL created LEAP in 2015 through a grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co. to further the financial services firm’s “New Skills at Work” initiative that promotes workforce development to bridge the gap between the talent employers need and the qualifications of the local talent pipeline. The curriculum and content were developed by The H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) at Georgia Tech. In August 2018, JPMorgan Chase & Co. continued once again committed to supporting LEAP with an additional grant. The Georgia Tech LEAP program has been delivered throughout Georgia to Schools, Cohorts, and Individual Students in 18 School Districts or Systems, at 46 different schools public and private, in 13 colleges and universities, and across several well-known organizations and employers. This includes schools like Maynard Jackson HS, Grady HS, North Atlanta HS, Effingham College Career and Career Academy, Fulton Schools College and Career Academy, Newton College and Career Academy, Social Circle HS, Griffin Region College & Career Academy, New Manchester HS; non-profit organizations like Goodwill, United Way(Career Rise), Scouts BSA(Crew 2421), The Latin American Association; and businesses like Sysco, and Mohawk Industries. The program has been continuously supported by generous donations from schools, civic organizations including Effingham College and Career Academy, Fulton Schools College and Career Academy, foundations including Home Depot Foundation, Fulton Education Foundation, Schneider Foundation, Georgia Power Foundation, Regions Foundation, and employers including companies like HMTX Industries, Inc.