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New partnership offers opportunities in supply chain management

A new public-private partnership involving HFM BOCES, Fulton-Montgomery Community College and a locally-based wholesale distribution company will prepare students in the region to enter the growing, in-demand field of supply chain management.

On Wednesday, Dec. 8, FMCC announced the launch of a new Distribution and Supply Management program in cooperation with HFM BOCES and Hill & Markes, a family-owned wholesale distribution company based in Amsterdam. The new program will provide students with hands-on opportunities to earn a one-year Warehouse Supervisor Certificate or a two-year Associate of Occupational Studies degree in Distribution and Supply Management.

A group of students listens to a employee as they walk through the stacks of a warehouse

HFM PTECH students toured the Hill & Markes facility in the Florida Business Park in Montgomery County on Nov. 17.

In addition to coursework at the college, students will spend approximately half of their time learning on-site at the Hill & Markes facility.

Hill & Markes will also work directly with high school students in the HFM BOCES Career and Technical Education programs and the HFM BOCES PTECHs providing work-site visits, internships, work study opportunities and more.

“This partnership really creates a path into the distribution and supply chain area from the high school level into higher education to really promote careers within this industry,” Daniel Fogarty, FMCC’s Director of Workforce Development and External Partnerships, said during the announcement Wednesday.

FMCC President Greg Truckenmiller and HFM BOCES District Superintendent David Ziskin both spoke of the importance of partnerships to the educational mission of both institutions.

“Partnerships are an incredibly important part for us to continue to serve our community,” Truckenmiller said.

“It’s a pleasure to be here today to talk about this particular partnership, which will provide some wonderful opportunities for our PTECH and Career and Technical Education students,” Ziskin said. “HFM BOCES and FMCC both endeavor to prepare students for the great opportunities that exist in Fulton and Montgomery counties. This partnership addresses a great need in an industry in our region. It’s truly a win-win arrangement for our students and Hill & Markes.”

Hill & Markes CEO Jason Packer commented on this visionary approach to public-private partnerships.

“Without qualified people coming into our industry, we will struggle as a community to support the transportation and warehousing infrastructure of our increasingly complex supply chain. Through the partnership with Hill & Markes, Fulton-Montgomery Community College and HFM BOCES, the next generation has the opportunity to keep our region running,” Packer said. “Through these partnerships, students will learn best practices in inventory control, logistics and technology, which are critical skills in today’s ever-changing marketplace. These types of innovative programs are solutions that are needed to address our community’s labor shortages and skills gaps. It’s easy to complain about the struggles and problems that we all face in society today but FMCC and HFM BOCES are taking action to solve these problems.”

Ziskin also thanked HFM BOCES Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Jay DeTraglia and the Fulton-Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce for their work connecting educational programs to local employers.

Working through Nicole Walrath, the Chamber’s Director of Workforce Development, and Jenna Patterson, the Business and Education Partnership Coordinator, HFM programs are able to partner with businesses across the region to provide students with mentorship and real-world experiences.

Hill & Markes has already started working with HFM students. On Nov. 17, Hill & Markes hosted ninth-grade PTECH students for a tour. Company representatives showed students the warehouse and office areas and answered questions about the industry and its processes.  There is a facility tour planned in January for selected Career and Technical Education students as well.