Santa Monica College (SMC) has received two economic development grants totaling $1.2 million to develop a program to train workers in the fields of logistics (the global movement of goods and services) and healthcare.

The two grants of $600,000 each were awarded by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.

The logistics grant is designed to train 525 people currently working in the declining manufacturing industry (all of whom are facing job loss) in the emerging logistics field, said SMC spokesman Bruce Smith.

Positions in the logistics field range from skip loading to management. The logistics job training grant will also be used to help people currently in the logistics field upgrade their skills.

“Santa Monica College is perfectly positioned to provide this training, given our location in a region where logistics is one of the largest employment growth sectors and given our proximity to two of the world’s largest ports and Los Angeles International Airport,” said SMC provost Marvin Martinez. “These grants demonstrate that SMC is on top of the trends in economic development in this region and is committed to preparing our work force for excellent jobs in growth industries.”

Under the terms of the grant, the college will work in partnership with several other organizations, including Triangle Network, a logistics corporation in Los Angeles; the Los Angeles and Long Beach port agencies; the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation; the Los Angeles County Workforce Investment Board; the Center for International Trade and Development; and the Long Beach Workforce Investment Board.

Logistics is the second largest employment sector in the U.S. and is forecast to continue to grow, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, a college official said.

Organizations spend nearly $800 billion a year on logistics in the U.S. Worldwide, more than $1.4 trillion is spent annually, according to federal statistics.

Jobs in logistics range from entry-level positions such as truck drivers to management posts in inventory control, production and warehouse operations. Industry officials told SMC officials that the field currently has a lot of new management opportunities.

The healthcare grant will allow SMC and industry partners to implement short-term training activities that enable individuals to enter the healthcare industry as certified nursing assistants, medical front office clerks, substance abuse counselors and home health aides.

Up to 260 participants in the Los Angeles area will receive training, including at least 65 CalWorks recipients. CalWorks is a welfare program that gives cash aid and services to eligible needy families.

The project has been implemented to help address the critical workforce shortages throughout California’s healthcare field.

Among partners SMC will work with on the grant project are the Los Angeles County Workforce Investment Board; American Caregivers, Incorporated; California Certification Board of Chemical Dependency Counseling; California Alcohol and Drug Program; and the Golden State Adult Day Care Centers.

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