Food bank hon­ors grad­u­ates of in­au­gu­ral ware­hous­ing course

Newark Post - - LOCAL NEWS - By BROOKE SCHULTZ [email protected]­pub.com

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.”

NE­WARK POST PHO­TOS BY BROOKE SCHULTZ

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.

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