BILAF MeetingOn Thursday, January 27, Skyline College Center for International Trade Development (CITD) hosted its first Bay Area Community Colleges Business and Industry Leaders Advisory Forum (BILAF) of the year. Employers and industry leaders included representatives from the eCommerce, global supply chain management, law, workforce investment, and third party logistics providers. As host, Yvonne Reid, Director of CITD facilitated interactive sessions between the Bay Area leaders and community college deans and faculty from surrounding bay area community colleges; including Skyline College, Cañada College, and the College of Alameda.

Skyline College’s Veteran Resource Center’s Program Services Coordinator, Gina Ciardella, BILAF member, opened the KICK-OFF meeting as she described the center’ dedication to “ensuring that a strong veteran community flourishes on [Skyline College’s] campus…promoting superb support services for personal growth, development, and educational success.”  Gina expressed her enthusiasm as the group heard from GLPS division, Adjunct Faculty Special Projects, Clifford Moss, as he announced the development of new curricula and program awards that veterans, new entrants, incumbent workers, and executives can enroll. GLPS division adjunct faculty are in the process of developing Global Trade and Logistics stackable certificates of achievement and an AS degree that aligns with employer needs, U.S. Customs Broker License exam and Program Management Professional (PMP) national certification competencies. The certificate and program award learning outcomes will provide student completers with the foundational skills needed to work in the global trade and logistics industry; further enhancing the skillset of those who have served in the military and entering and who are currently working in the GTL field. “Once the courses become available, I am excited about the [prospect] of having Skyline College veterans students enroll in the GLPS GTL logistics courses, since logistics began in the military,” stated Gina.

BILAF member, Greg Johnston, Vice President of Trade Compliance, Page Fura, P.C.; law firm based in Chicago, IL, continued the conversation about the relevance of the Customs Brokerage license; sharing 2015 U.S. and global average salaries of associates (entry level) up to vice presidents.  The BILAF members and guests were further captivated as BILAF member, Cameron Wessel, Director of eCommerce Sourcing, Walmart global eCommerce, San Bruno, presented data about the state of Imports from Walmart’s perspective and the need for workers to have both a customs brokerage and program management skillset. Mr. Wessel confirmed how as a Walmart eCommerce Director; these certifications are valuable in trade compliance and logistics for the 21st century workforce and helps to close the skill gaps of long term workforce.  Dr. Tammy Robinson, Dean of Global Learning Programs and Services (GLPS) commented, “We heard you [BILAF members]…and our GTL adjunct faculty are creating the curricula and programs that equip our students with 21st century workforce skills to get jobs [in a highly demand field]; curricula and programs awards that you approved and support.”

The Bay Area CITD is housed at Skyline College at the Department of Global Learning Programs and Services. To learn more about upcoming events, services, and opportunities please visit

Article by Alina Din | Photos by William Nacouzi