Navigating through college has never been as simple as getting from point A to point B, but some local students are doing just that while learning to get things from A to B thanks to a pilot program between Anne Arundel County Public Schools and Anne Arundel Community College. Nine North County High students earned a Transportation, Logistics and Cargo Security certificate from AACC in May.
The program provides students with 18 college credits that they can apply toward a degree. It also includes an internship that gives them further exposure to the transportation and cargo field, with careers range from warehousing and distribution to operations and health and safety.
The students cited a variety of benefits they gained from participating in the program, ranging from getting a “leg up” in college to gaining hands-on experience in the working world. For Kristen Towers, who just began her freshman year at AACC, the program was life-changing.
“My lifelong goal was (a career) in early childhood education and following in my favorite aunt’s footsteps,” she said. But when the detail-oriented student started taking her first transportation and logistics classes, she found herself eagerly learning about managing a lot of details and easily excelling. “There are a lot of nit-picking details to attend to but I love it,” she said.
According to Kipp Snow, a professor with AACC’s Transportation, Logistics and Cargo Security program, students with this certificate can get entry-level jobs in the industry earning $14-$18 an hour with benefits. Snow also teaches several classes a semester at North County High.
“Based on industry-driven input into the curriculum, the students are highly prepared to be employed in entry-level positions in the local transportation industry,” Snow said. “This is a great opportunity for those students looking to enter the workforce with minimal training, or they can use the certificate as a stepping stone in their academic and career pathway.”
Towers is now on a path to a career she didn’t even know about thanks to the program. Even better, she has a clear plan on how to get there. She is a student at AACC, where she says the tuition is much more affordable, and plans to transfer to either Towson University or the University of Maryland. Ultimately, she wants to earn a master’s degree in supply chain management.
“This program changed my life,” she said.
While the program gave Towers a completely different view of her own future, it gave Brandon Freeman more of an idea of how to function in the present. Freeman credits his internship at Baltimore-Washington International Airport with opening his eyes about customer service, interaction and the working world. “I learned just how serious things can be,” he said. “I learned a lot about the transition from the little kid world to the adult world.”
The partnership with AACC is part of North County High School's International Trade, Transportation, and Tourism (IT3) Signature Program, where students are given workforce-relevant opportunities as a response to demands for career-ready high school graduates. A second cohort is expected to complete the certificate this fall, while a third cohort of 16 juniors is on tap to earn certificates in 2018.