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Schools to offer logistics program

BY LAUREL BLACK lblack@paducahsun.com

Murray State University and West Kentucky Community & Technical College signed an agreement Friday that will offer students another route toward securing a solid career.

The collaboration will allow students to earn a bachelor's degree in logistics and supply chain management from MSU without leaving Paducah. Careers in the field involve managing and coordinating products and materials as they move from conception to delivery.

Starting in the fall, students can earn an associate's degree through entirely online courses at WKCTC in two years, after which they will be able to transfer credits to Murray and complete the two additional years it takes to earn their bachelor's degree, said Tammy Potter, dean of the business and computer-related technologies division at WKCTC.

"It is a true 2-plus-2 program, so they can step right over (to MSU) as juniors and complete a four-year degree," she said. Potter added that online courses make the degree a good fit for working students.

WKCTC has offered its program in logistics and supply chain management about 21⁠2 years, and the school began working on the partnership with MSU last year.

Potter said economic advisory committees in Paducah helped prompt the collaboration by emphasizing the need for such programs in the area.

The fully accredited degree has a strong business component with management and marketing representing key areas of study. Operations research, math and geography are included in the curriculum, said Tim Todd, dean of the College of Business at MSU.

Todd said Paducah is perfectly situated to offer jobs to graduates who have earned a bachelor's in logistics and supply chain management.  

"We (in western Kentucky) are within one day's drive of 124 million people. There are several rail systems; there are five interstates within 150 miles; there's a regional airport and there are four rivers," he said.

With a FedEx hub in Memphis and a U.S. Postal Service hub in Louisville, "we're kind of Oreo-cookied here in a great part of the region to have the academic program that leads to great jobs," he said.

He added that the national average starting salary for graduates with the bachelor's is between $50,000 and $60,000 a year.

WKCTC President Barbara Veazey and MSU President Tim Miller signed the paperwork securing the partnership at MSU's Paducah Regional Campus during a brief ceremony.

"I'm so pleased to be in this partnership because we need to fulfill all the dreams and hopes of all the students in western Kentucky," Miller said.

Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641, or follow @LaurelFBlack on Twitter.

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