Center Update
August 10, 2020
CITT Launches Sustainable Freight
Foundations Certificate Pilot Program
To address workforce challenges related to goods movement and sustainability, the Center for International Trade and Transportation (CITT) launched a Sustainable Freight Foundations Certificate pilot course on July 31, 2020. The 40-hour online training will run through November and include curriculum that combines freight systems management with energy systems management, compliance issues and digital skills building.  
CITT Education and Workforce Development Analyst, Deanna Matsumoto, and Executive Director, Dr. Tom O’Brien, developed the certification program in partnership with the California Energy Commission (CEC) and Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) under the direction of a working group comprising industry stakeholders and workforce development officials among others. The certificate is part of a broader research project being undertaken by CITT to better understand the workforce needs and opportunities surrounding the implementation of the California Sustainable Freight Action Plan which envisions a future with a “more efficient, more economically competitive, and less polluting freight transport system." Participants in the pilot program were selected as part of a nomination process involving both employees and employers. 
This pilot program was designed to remedy the apparent workforce development gap in education and training for workers trying to succeed in mid-level management positions. This gap is expected to be remedied through the implementation of short-term programming as well as longer-term programs, including apprenticeships, that focus on project management, data analysis, regulatory compliance, and digital skill sets.  
This course is intended to inform the future development of a suite of certificates that can lead to an industry-recognized and/or sponsored Sustainable Freight Foundations Certification that responds to the needs of both employer and employee stakeholders. This program is also designed to be adaptable for multiple industry sectors where operations are being changed as a result of the introduction of new technologies including those tied to alternative fuels. This includes port, truck, rail, and air freight, as well as manufacturing, and can easily be replicated and customized depending on industry sector and employer needs.  
The Freight Foundations Certificate pilot encompasses modules such as introductions introductions to data and metrics used in freight management, current issues in freight systems and management, and building digital skills, and provides a comprehensive overview of legal and regulatory issues related to freight management. It ends with a capstone project that allows the student to apply these various skills to a real-world problem.   
As a pilot, the Sustainable Freight Foundations Certificate will serve to inform which issues are deemed most critical for the future transportation workforce.  The pilot provides the cornerstone for a more extensive Certification allowing a more in-depth exploration of some of the topics introduced in the pilot. These include use of alternative delivery methods to the last mile (Freight Management), the economics of alternative fuel systems (Energy Fundamentals), responding to environmental mandates, particularly with regard to communities impacted by freight operations (Compliance) and Geospatial analysis for sustainable freight (Digital Applications). 
CITT is developing this project with an eye towards expansion to both front-line technicians and senior management and as part of capacity-building programs within government agencies. 
 “We have been thrilled by the interest in the class from a wide cross section of professionals in the freight industry and from both the public and private sectors,” Dr. O’Brien noted, responding to the already great response to the program. “The potential for this to be part of a broader certification is great, which I think reflects the value of constantly reassessing the courses we offer so that they remain relevant in today's workplace." 
To learn more about the program or express interest in future course offerings, please contact
The Faces Behind CITT: Tom O'Brien

When beginning his work with CITT in 2004, Dr. Thomas (Tom) O’Brien was in the midst of obtaining his PhD. From his initial position as Applied Research Coordinator, he worked his way up the ranks of CITT to the Director of Research, and then to his current position of Executive Director. Recently at the CITT, the editorial team sat down to chat with Dr. O'Brien in their quest to learn more about his background and how his journey led him to CITT.  
Unexpected Beginnings 

O’Brien: My career trajectory was largely unintentional. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco in the late 1980s, I had a chance to work on a summer project for USAID focusing on land tenure. This got me interested in urban planning, which brought me to LA for a Master's program and ultimately a PhD. I was doing research on technology in transit operations when my advisor “assigned” me to a METRANS-related project at CSULB to take notes. It took me to freight, and I was hooked.    
“Don’t Mess Up” 

O’Brien: My two great mentors are Gen Giuliano, METRANS Director, who sent me to CSULB, and Marianne Vinieris, my predecessor at CITT. Gen saw the value of applying traditional academic skills to the freight sector before it was a discipline of study. Marianne knew that the university couldn’t make an impact without the industry. CITT has credibility because of Marianne’s work. My goal on a daily basis is not to mess this up.

Bridging Industry & Academia 
O’Brien: CITT has always been about bridging the gap between the university and industry. 
GLS, now GLP [Global Logistics Professional] made a mark from the beginning because it was a program that was industry-designed and taught. It allowed us to build a reputation and [highly qualified] bank of experts to advise us on our research and the development of other education programs.   

Educating K-12 to the Workforce 

O’Brien: I am interested in establishing connections between all segments of the educational continuum from K-12 through the workforce. The Long Beach Promise gives us a framework (and a mandate) to make those connections. We seek to build a curriculum at all levels that responds to the needs of the learner regardless of the background.  
Mobility and its Societal Significance 

O’Brien: I am hopeful that mobility becomes a solution to urban equity problems both as a career pathway and as a means of access to the workplace and the services that make urban life meaningful. While I am not naïve about the threats posed by technological advancement, I sincerely believe that CITT is in a position to help students take advantage of the opportunities that come from harnessing that technology.   
Stay tuned to learn more about the CITT staff! 
Harbor Association of Industry & Commerce Webinar:
A Discussion with the California Air Resources Board

Thursday, August 20, 2020, 11:30 PT

Click here for more info.
CSULB Economics
Department Webinar:
Long Beach Quarterly
Economic Forum

Thursday, August 20, 2020, 10:00 PT

Click here for more info.
"The world’s first zero-emissions top handlers, unveiled last fall as part of a pre-commercial demonstration project at the Port of Los Angeles, are now being used in daily operations at the Everport Container Terminal."