By Debra Dennis

Cedrick Eldridge hopes to brand himself as a logistics and transportation expert – a move that would pair well with his experience as a shipping and receiving clerk and a truck driver.

Cedrick Eldridge

Eldridge is enrolled in the logistics program at Cedar Valley College, where he expects to earn a certificate that will help him boost his chances for a promotion. A certificate, he said, would meet the education and experience requirements demanded by many employers in this field.

“When you’re certified to do a job, it gives you more weight. It comes with more credibility,” said Eldridge, 35, of Dallas. “I have a lot of work experience, but you need that credential. Experience is not enough.”

For the last 12 years, Eldridge has worked full time as a shipping and receiving clerk for a local retailer and part time as driver for a delivery company. Holding down two jobs simultaneously has been challenging.

“I just need one good job,” said Eldridge, who is taking online logistics courses through Cedar Valley, one of seven colleges in the Dallas County Community College District. He hopes to move into management and credits the courses with giving him time to study in between jobs.

Logistics means career growth

Blanca M. Perez, who graduated this month with an associate degree in logistics from Cedar Valley, also is looking for a stable career that will allow her to grow. With eight years in this field, she hopes to find a full-time job in manufacturing technology.

Blanca Perez

Blanca Perez

Blanca M. Perez, who graduated this month with an associate degree in logistics from Cedar Valley, also is looking for a stable career that will allow her to grow. With eight years in this field, she hopes to find a full-time job in manufacturing technology.

“I wanted to do more and to learn how to make things flow,” said Perez, who works as a temporary stock buyer at a tool manufacturing company. “Since I’m working in the field, the work came easily. The classes are like icing on the cake.”

A degree, she said, puts her on the pathway to a permanent career: “After being in school, learning new things and seeing what we can do, I want to stay in manufacturing and become a continuous improvement leader – the person who figures out how to streamline, save the company money and move people to work more efficiently.”

Perez added, “When you do something you love, it flows with your life. I’m open to bigger opportunities. This is a temporary job. People always think that when you work in this field, it’s an old warehouse, but it’s a rewarding career. With these classes, you get the tools you need. Everything is about manufacturing. A lot of companies are competing for that fast delivery, so the future is now.”

A general laborer, she wants to take advantage of opportunities that the growing transportation industry in Dallas-Fort Worth offers.

“I got interested after working as a general laborer for six years, and I wanted to do more. I wanted to learn how we can make things flow better,” said Perez. “There are so many jobs coming up. All of the warehouses are here, and they will give you decent pay and health and medical (benefits).”

Logistics: good options, good pay

Logistics is a thriving career option that adheres to consumer-driven, “I want it now” purchasing which drives the economy. DCCCD offers more than 75 awards, degrees and certificates that are solely online. As society becomes more global, consumers can demand products from almost any place on the planet in a few days, if not overnight.

Steven Drayton, who directs Cedar Valley’s logistics program, said warehouses are expanding and building all over the Dallas-Fort Worth area. That means the need for a trained, certified workforce will grow, too.

“We’re sending students into middle-income jobs as soon after they graduate or obtain a certificate,” Drayton said. “And our students may also transfer to a four-year school.”

As a logistics hub, area companies are responding to consumers’ demands – that their products arrive almost as soon as they order them, Drayton said, and businesses must remain competitive to meet that demand.

“The best thing about our program is that logistics is one of those fields where you can move anywhere and find a job,” Drayton said. “No company in the world can go without someone who understands logistics.”

Cedar Valley and North Lake students can prepare for careers in warehouse and distribution management, domestic and international transportation, storage, inventory control and production.

“Long term, you can make a lot of money at a warehouse. You can make $125,000 as a warehouse manager. It’s such a big field, and you have so many moving parts,” added Drayton.

The median pay for logisticians is $74,600 per year, or $35.86 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment is projected to grow seven percent by 2026 – driven, in part, by the need for professional logisticians to transport goods. Workers must function well in a fast-paced environment to ensure that transportation, inventory and warehousing operations are performing optimally.

For more information, email Steve Drayton at [email protected] or call him at 972-860-8028.