COVID-19 brought the public’s attention to the critical value of transportation and supply chain workers as lifelines to access food and other supplies. This report examines essential job skills required of the middle-skill workforce (workers with more than a high school degree, but less than a four-year college degree). Many of these middle-skill transportation and supply chain jobs are what the Federal Reserve Bank defines as “opportunity occupations” -- jobs that pay above median wages and can be accessible to those without a four-year college degree. This report lays out the complex landscape of selected technological disruptions of the supply chain to understand the new workforce needs of these middle-skill workers, followed by competencies identified by industry. With workplace social distancing policies, logistics organizations now rely heavily on data management and analysis for their operations. All rungs of employees, including warehouse workers and truck drivers, require digital skills to use mobile devices, sensors, and dashboards, among other applications. Workforce training requires a focus on data, problem solving, connectivity, and collaboration. Industry partners identified key workforce competencies required in digital literacy, data management, front/back office jobs, and in operations and maintenance. Education and training providers identified strategies to effectively develop workforce development programs. This report concludes with an exploration of the role of Institutes of Higher Education in delivering effective workforce education and training programs that reimagine how to frame programs to be customizable, easily accessible, and relevant.

Publication Date


Publication Type



Miscellaneous, Workforce and Labor

Digital Object Identifier


MTI Project



Workforce development, COVID-19, Technological innovations and integration, Skills gap, Education and training


Transportation | Work, Economy and Organizations