As the gateway to Latin America, South Florida is a hub for logistics and home to many companies looking to hire local talent. The new master of science in logistics engineering at FIU’s College of Engineering & Computing is designed to give students the skills they need to meet industry needs.
“When we hire new graduates, they have a lot of theory, but they don’t know the true world of logistics. We spend a lot of time training these young people,” said Gregory Goba-Ble, vice-president of engineering, UPS Americas Region. “I’m very interested in this curriculum because our industry has a need to get people ready to start working after graduation.”
Most logistics degrees currently offered nationwide focus on supply chain management. The master’s degree in logistics engineering at FIU incorporates various aspects that affect the global community, from different products and methods of transporting them to the software, hardware and engineering components involved in doing so.
“No one is looking at the area of enterprise,” said Gary Goldfarb, chief strategy officer of Interport Logistics, a full-service supply chain management provider. “We want FIU to be a leader in the world of enterprise logistics, and this degree will distinguish the university as education innovators at a very high level.”
Goldfarb, who chairs this effort and is past chairman of the trade & logistics committee of The Beacon Council, approached the College of Engineering & Computing with the idea. He brought major companies to the table – many of which are competitors. They united to address a common problem they all face: an undertrained workforce lacking specific skills. Top executives from these companies are serving on the college’s advisory board and providing feedback on what topics the curriculum should encompass.
“We wanted to create a program that would be relevant, and could fully prepare students from day one on the job,” said Chin-Sheng Chen, professor and the director of the logistics engineering program at the College of Engineering & Computing. “The feedback from our industry partners was vital in designing the curriculum, and by meeting their needs, we hope our graduates will find success getting hired by many of these corporations, and other logistics companies worldwide.”
While students benefit from practical knowledge, insider expertise and problem-solving skills, companies will save time and money on training new graduates.
“When we started building our software, there was no single source to learn; we learned by doing and developed our standards. International logistics has been taught from generation-to-generation,” said Jesus David Rodriguez, president, Magaya Corporation, developers of logistics software. “We believe the next generation should not have the same struggle. This degree program will help graduates be a step ahead.”
In addition to UPS (NYSE: UPS), Interport Logistics and Magaya Corporation, other companies participating on the industry advisory board include FedEx, Maersk and PriceSmart. The College of Engineering & Computing will also be working closely with the companies to secure scholarships for its students and job placement upon graduation. The new master’s degree in logistics engineering will officially launch in fall 2017.