Recognizing FastForward’s role in keeping the supply chain strong

  •   3 min read
Virginia Workforce

Yet again, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not exactly what you are thinking. We’re entering production, manufacturing, fulfillment, warehouse and customer service season. Here are some of the frontline careers that are instrumental in keeping our economy afloat and examples of how FastForward is the perfect program to train the supply-chain workforce of the future.

Manufacturing

Before anything can enter the supply chain, it first has to be designed, planned and produced. That’s where manufacturing comes in. The modern and mass production of goods requires an enormous amount of skill, knowledge and dedication. Not to mention creative thinking.

Positions such as welder, machine operator, job planner and millwright are all covered under the FastForward umbrella. With recent labor shortages and high demand from consumers, companies that manufacture goods are in urgent need of experienced workers.

“I’m a lot better off financially than before I went to school. I make at least 50% more now than what I made before my workforce training at Blue Ridge Community College. That’s substantial,” said Marcus from Bridgewater. He earned his 6G pipe welding credential via FastForward.

Logistics

When thinking of logistics, think of every person or process that it takes for a product to arrive at a store or your home. It’s how something gets from point A to point B. There are a number of jobs in this chain: CDL (truck) driver, warehouse worker, site manager, and power industry professional.

The good news: FastForward offers credentials in all of these areas and sets graduates up for success in a rapidly-changing sector of the economy.

“My coursework was so clear and gave me everything I needed to start working with a manufacturing or logistics company. It convinced me to study logistics even further,” said FastForward alum Mohammad from Richmond. He received his Certified Logistics Associate through the program.

Information Technology

Pull back the curtain and you will find that behind any strong supply chain is a network of information technology (IT) professionals and technicians. They serve as the backbone and keep things running smoothly and efficiently. Additionally, they protect supply chains and systems from being hacked or taken offline.

Students can take advantage of a wide variety of certifications and credentials in the IT world that are covered by FastForward. Everything from cybersecurity and network engineering to system administration and hacker analysis.

“Starting over later in life isn’t always easy, but this opportunity was like a door being opened. And, my instructors were always helpful and responsive to my questions,” said Christine from Hampton regarding her success after completing the CompTIA A+ credential.

Another example is Heather, a FastForward graduate who earned three CompTIA certifications during her time in the program, detailed her experience in 2019 blog post. She went from jobless in 2009 to interning for a corporation in her field after completing FastForward.

Business & Customer Service

Finally, we arrive at the most front-facing or public segment of the supply chain, the people who work in offices, analyze market trends and help consumers make choices when shopping. Business and customer service representatives have had to adapt constantly during the last two years and are needed now more than ever.

Getting credentialed with FastForward can help workers dig deeper, past simply selling and marketing goods and discover the endless possibilities of the business world. Positions such as project manager, human resources analyst and customer service specialist are all options opened up by participating in FastForward.

To learn more about how to earn credentials with FastForward visit www.fastforwardva.org.