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Courses help with demand in are laden with warehouses

November 13, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Some local manufacturing professionals are continuing their education this fall by taking evening courses in supply chain management.

Held at Letterkenny Army Depot, the courses are taught thanks to a joint effort of Penn State Harrisburg, Penn State Mont Alto and Letterkenny.

Holly Cieri, public relations manager of Penn State Mont Alto, said the courses are part of a 12-credit certificate that can be used by students as a stepping stone toward a master of business administration (MBA).

John Gray, deputy commander of Letterkenny, said the certificate was designed, in part, to address the growth of industry and manufacturing in the county. For Franklin County, Gray said Letterkenny has played a significant role in area industry since the 1940s, saying "at one time we provided almost 20 percent of area jobs."

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Today, Franklin county has 10.6 million square feet of industrial and warehouse space, according to a statement made by a transportation consultant in April.

With industry growing, Gray said officials in Penn State's continuing education program wanted to provide area professionals with advanced education to meet the demands of growth.

"We are upgrading employee qualifications," he said.

This semester is the second course in the four-course program. Gray said most of the students in the program are Letterkenny employees.

"Though we would like to see more students from across the county in the program," he said.

Pete Swan, a professor of logistics and operations management at Penn State Harrisburg, is teaching the current course titled Introduction to Supply Chain and Informational Systems.

Swan, who worked for CSX Transportation for eight years, said the goal of his course is to "enhance student knowledge of supply chains so as professionals, they can apply supply chain concepts to what they are doing."

Students said, so far, Swan has been able to connect the course to their work at Letterkenny.

"This really relates to what we are doing," production controller Janis West said.

While some students like Jackie Meckley plan to use the certificate toward an MBA, others are taking the courses because it is "free" for them.

"Letterkenny pays for the students to take the courses," Swan explained.

In a written statement, Cieri said the next course held during the spring semester is Procurement and Supply Management and it will be taught by Rich Young on Wednesday evenings at the Franklin County Career and Technology Center.

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