Officials signed an agreement Tuesday that would allow students who complete an associate degree in logistics at Ogeechee Technical College to progress to Georgia Southern University’s bachelor’s degree program in the same major.
The articulation agreement is designed to minimize lost credits or duplicated courses for OTC graduates who choose to turn their two-year degree into the first half of GSU’s four-year degree. Direct links of this kind became possible one year ago when Ogeechee Tech achieved Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accreditation.
Meanwhile, Ogeechee Tech is also working with the Bulloch County school system to expand the technical certificate programs available to students still enrolled in the high schools. In April, an agreement was announced for an OTC Basic Mechatronics certificate at Statesboro High that students can carry onto the associate degree track at the OTC campus. That two-year program, in turn, is intended link up with Georgia Southern’s new Manufacturing Engineering bachelor's degree program.
Something similar is being planned for Logistics Management, said Ogeechee Technical College President Dawn Cartee.
“When they finish that certificate in the high school they can move those credits into our degree and then from the associate degree into the bachelor’s degree,” she said. “That’s the ultimate goal.”
Cartee and Georgia Southern University President Brooks Keel signed the agreement in Keel’s conference room. OTC Executive Vice President Charlene Lamar and GSU Provost and Vice President Jean Bartels also signed.
The agreement includes parallel lists of courses for Ogeechee Tech’s Associate of Science program in Logistics Management and the first part of Georgia Southern’s Bachelor of Business Administration program called Logistics and Intermodal Transportation.
Currently, Ogeechee Tech offers the general core classes, which would already transfer. But it will restart its Logistics Management degree because the program, which was created but had no students, was put on hold during the accreditation process, Cartee said.
The program remained on hold while Tuesday’s agreement was worked out.
There is no timeline yet for arrival of the first OTC program graduates at Georgia Southern, she said. Lamar and Cartee said the certificate program should be available at the high school in fall 2016.
The certificate also will be offered at the OTC campus so students can begin there before choosing whether to pursue a diploma or degree program, Cartee said.
Meanwhile, Ogeechee Tech will put instructors in place and promote the program.
“We’ll get faculty out recruiting industry. It’s just about getting the word out,” Cartee said.
Logistics means managing how goods and material move from place to place. People with logistics degrees work in management in trucking, ocean shipping and other fields.
With about 11,000 providers of logistics services, Georgia ranks fifth among the states in overall logistics employment, according to Georgia Department of Economic Development numbers supplied by Barry Turner, Ogeechee Tech’s vice president for college advancement.
Delta Airlines, United Parcel Service, SAIA and Manhattan Associates are among the logistics-related companies headquartered in Georgia. The Department of Economic Development also refers to the Savannah’s port as the fastest growing in the nation. It is already the fourth-largest container port in the country, and is credited with 7 percent of Georgia’s total employment.
Assistant Professor Ben Skipper, who teaches logistics at Georgia Southern, and Associate Professor Jerry Burke, who chairs the university’s Department of Logistics and Supply Chain Management, noted some of these same statistics. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, well known as one of the world’s busiest airports for passenger traffic, is also the 30th largest for cargo, Skipper noted. Railways and interstate highways, he said, help make Georgia a very good place to do logistics.
“Our students get jobs with all the major trucking companies, with Gulfstream, the Georgia ports and all over the state of Georgia,” Burke said.
“Any business that moves or either receives or sends an item needs logistics,” Skipper said.
Keel, interviewed later when he signed another agreement, with the nonprofit Ocean Exchange for a grant competition for student innovators, said both agreements highlighted the importance of cooperation.
“The logistics agreement we signed today is a perfect example of how we’re collaborating with another fantastic institution in the community to try to provide seamless opportunities for students,” he said.
Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.