Food bank honors graduates of inaugural warehousing course
In front of family members, friends and educators, the inaugural graduates of the Food Bank of Delaware’s warehousing class received their certificates last week.
The seven graduates of L.O.G.I.C. – Logistics, Operations, General warehousing and Inventory Control – were recognized for their completion of the 11-week course that trained them for a job in a warehouse.
“We are very proud of you; you’ve made it,” Trevor Turner, chief operations officer for the food bank, said to the graduates Nov. 28. “This is the beginning of a hard journey as you transition into gainful employment. We are super proud of you. As I said from day one, you’re now part of the family.”
The program focused on storing and restocking; picking, packing and quality control; loading and shipping; inventory control; and customer service. All of the students graduated with an OSHA-10 general industry certification and forklift certification.
Students were also taught “soft skills,” like conflict resolution, interview tips and resume writing.
“We felt that by increasing our ability to train people to work in jobs in the community, one of the most logical ones – no pun intended – was that we do training [for] warehousing,” said President and CEO Patricia Beebe, adding that “these brave souls, educated souls, trained souls” will make competitive employees.
The L.O.G.I.C. course is one of two new workforce development programs created by the food bank, which is hoping to replicate the success of its culinary arts program, which has trained hundreds of unemployed or underemployed people for restaurant jobs.
The organization recently began a year-long agriculture program on the farmland surrounding its new headquarters in Pencader Corporate Center, which will open next year.
L.O.G.I.C. graduate Amber Felts, who described it as a wonderful opportunity, received recognition for having the highest GPA of the class.
“I needed a new field and I know that this is something that we’re always going to need,” she said. “It was going to be something challenging; I like a challenge and I fell in love with it from the first day.”
She added that everyone was supportive.
“They all worked well with us. If we had any areas that we were struggling with, they made it a point to help us do what what we needed to do. Again, I’m very appreciative to everybody here.” Terrell Walker agreed. “Everybody around here was supportive, respectful, responsible,” he said. “It was amazing.”
The program also connected the students with employers in the field, like the keynote speakers Jason Blackenship and Al Christman, who hold positions in Walmart’s distribution centers.
“You guys have a leg up on everybody starting out,” Blackenship noted. “My advice to you guys? Don’t squander this opportunity. Run with it. Take it and do everything you can for whatever company you end up working for because, like [Beebe] said, you’re going to be one of the better associates there because you already know what to expect.”
Christman advised the graduates that, while they certainly have an advantage with the knowledge gained through this program, they should strive to learn something new every day.
“You can do anything you put your mind to,” he said. “Learn something ever y day, and you’ll continue to grow and expand your horizons.”
The food bank’s L.O.G.I.C. graduates pose with their certificates and Jessica Neal, workforce training program manager, and Erik Klair, operations manager.
Amber Felts accepts a certificate for the highest GPA during the graduation ceremony for L.O.G.I.C. students.