Cincinnati State is opening a new logistics training center in West Chester Twp. where it will offer certificate and degree programs to feed the region’s growing supply chain industry a pool of credentialed workers. The unique setting of the main campus will provide a mix of classroom space and a 'working warehouse' that could be stocked with inventory, forklifts and robotic equipment to give students hands-on experience for what it’s like to work in a warehouse, distribution center, shipping or other goods moving environments. “This is one of the fastest growing industries in Southwest Ohio,” said Lawra Baumann, Director of Grant Administration for Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. “There is a gap in the training opportunities available and this is the gap that Cincinnati State is trying to fill.” In addition to training students for work experiences in distribution centers, for example, students will also learn work readiness skills, she said. According to the most recent estimates, jobs in the transportation and warehousing industry in the Cincinnati metropolitan is expected to grow 6.8 percent by 2022, and add approximately 2,700 new jobs. Currently, the area including Butler and Warren counties employs nearly 40,000 people in jobs related to trucking, transportation and warehouses, according to Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The Cincinnati community college received a $2.5 million grant from the US Department of Labor to start the center and considered nearly 50 sites before choosing a West Chester location, which sits about halfway between the main campus in Clifton and Cincinnati State’s Middletown campus, Baumann said. Plans are to open the Supply Chain Career Development Center, as it will be formally called, at 5450 Spellmire Drive in West Chester in leased space. Once open by the end of March or shortly after, students can pursue new short-term certificates on topics such as wireless and mobile tracking, global logistics and robotics, or earn a one-year certificate or associate’s degree in supply chain management. “We were trying to be as close to the campus as possible, but yet be able to offer training in current warehouse conditions,” she said. “We fully anticipate that in partnership with employers and in response to employer needs, that this will enjoy a very robust enrollment.” In addition to students starting new careers, plans are to partner with companies to offer training for their existing workers to improve their skills, she said. “We see this as a very, very open and diverse array of opportunities for individuals looking for a career in a very explosive and growth industry in Ohio,” she added. Additionally, Cincinnati State is partnering with Butler Technology Career and Development Schools to offer logistics students Class A Commercial Driver’s License training, according to the schools. Butler Tech began offering in 2014 a truck driving license program. In its first full year of operation, students averaged a 100 percent job placement rate, said Butler Tech spokesman Michael Beauchat. Students complete a five week course including instructional and driving time, and upon completion, are eligible to take the licensing test, Beauchat said. “We’re still in the process of working with Cincinnati State to put the finishing touches on the program,” he said.