Nestled within a three-hour drive of four major U.S. cities, Cumberland County is a major hub for the transportation industry, and as a result, the warehousing industry has become one of the key contributors to the area’s rapid development. Trucks haul goods to their destinations, but without warehouses (and people to keep them organized!) the shipping process would be impossible.

But not just anyone can drive a forklift—you need a special certification for that!—and a trained individual to quickly navigate a warehouse so that items can be picked, packaged, and prepared for delivery in a timely manner. A recent article from the Central Penn Business Journal cited the rise of e-commerce as a major factor in the industry’s growth; combined with central Pennsylvania’s proximity to cities like New York and Washington, D.C., it makes for a perfect strategic location for processing and distributing shipments of goods.

The students in Joe Knouse’s Logistics and Warehouse Management class learn the ins and outs of a warehouse by working in a real one. They store and manage shipments for the entire school, and when it’s time to distribute those items, they know exactly how to use the systems warehouses across the state use to keep track of inventory—and they know their way around a forklift.

“If you are able to operate a forklift, you will never be out of a job in Cumberland County,” said Mr. Knouse. “And there are plenty of openings in my program for kids who want to get out of the classroom and do some hands-on work!”

It’s not a glamorous job, but students graduating from CPAVTS’s Logistics and Warehousing program can make over $15.00 per hour as a forklift operator! And since they are qualified to perform these jobs directly after high school, they can put their skills to work funding their goals—whether they want to earn a college degree or save up for another personal pursuit.

Mr. Knouse’s program is an excellent choice for any student who wants to get away from the standard high school experience and learn some real-world skills—and for some, like Colin (a student from Cumberland Valley), the experience surprised them:

“I decided to come here [to Logistics] because it seemed like the only option since I had two years left of high school. But now I’m really glad that I did! I was nervous at first, but it’s turned out to be a lot of fun!”

A cursory search of (a popular job search site) alone reveals posts for approximately 470 warehouse jobs—about 180 of which are advertising for forklift operators. If that isn’t enough evidence for how in-demand such employees are, the Sentinel recently published its top 50 employers and top 50 industries in Cumberland County. Of the employers, Amazon and Giant Food Stores were in the top three, and of the industries, warehousing was listed as number one.

Local employers are clamoring for skilled employees in the logistics and warehousing industry, and right now there are more jobs available than there are people to fill them. What that means is a high school student with the right skills is all but guaranteed a well-paying job right after graduation—and Mr. Knouse is ready to teach those skills to any student that wants to learn!