The need for qualified technicians to install, maintain, and upgrade warehouse technology is becoming critical, and the Integrated Systems & Controls Council, an industry group within MHI, is taking notice. During its spring meeting, held in Charlotte, N.C., in mid-May, the council invited Steve Harrington of the National Center for Supply Chain Technology Education (SCTE) to discuss his organization's efforts to recruit technicians to the industry. Harrington said there are currently about 200,000 technicians nationwide, but many more will be needed as more companies turn to automated systems and the systems themselves become more complex.
SCTE is conducting a gap analysis of existing technical training programs, identifying the technologies used in the market and the curriculum needed to train technicians. The organization also works with community colleges and trade schools that provide two-year training programs for technicians and assists other institutions with adding material handling technician programs to their curriculums.
To help channel more workers into the industry, MHI is now developing a technician certification program.