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February 12, 2021 10:45 AM, EST

Illinois Launches Program to Promote Supply Chain Management Training

Gov. Jay PritzkerIllinois Gov. Jay Pritzker says the program helps prepare workers for jobs of the future and supports the state's health response, which relies heavily on the supply chain. (Chares Rex Arbogast/Associated Press)

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Illinois officials and the Association for Supply Chain Management have partnered to launch a job-training program.

A global nonprofit organization, the Association for Supply Chain Management offers products, services and partnerships to help companies optimize their supply chains.

Announced by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the program specifically targets those who have become unemployed or underemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As our workforce is reshaped by the pandemic, two things have never been clearer: the need to invest in workforce programs that prepare our workers for the jobs of the future as well as strategic programs that can support our health response, which relies heavily on the supply chain,” Gov. Jay “J.B.” Pritzker said. “This innovative training model by the state of Illinois and [the Association for Supply Chain Management] responds to these needs and builds on the work we started from day one of this crisis to support Illinois workers and communities as we work to build back our economy.”

DCEO’s Office of Employment and Training is providing $250,000 for the Association for Supply Chain Management’s pilots meant to support dislocated workers. Besides helping those who have been impacted by COVID-19, the program is designed to help Illinois residents embrace the growth of e-commerce, shipping and logistics in the state.

Erin Guthrie

Guthrie

According to the DCEO, supply chain management is one of the fastest-growing fields in Illinois and has generated a demand for new workers. The department reported approximately 2,000 supply chain-related job opportunities were unfilled in the state as of early February. Over the next five years, about 500,000 supply chain jobs will be added nationally.

“Illinois is already home to one of the most talented workforces in the country and is a leader in the national supply chain,” DCEO Director Erin Guthrie said. “Through this new partnership, we will develop a diverse pipeline of talent that allows companies to plan for long-term growth here while ensuring our residents can seize the thousands of jobs coming to Illinois in the years ahead.”

Slated to begin in March, the program will be piloted in some of the state’s largest supply chain hubs, including southern Cook County, southern Illinois and Metro East, which represents the eastern suburbs of St. Louis. Initially, 250 participants will attend a virtual training program, which will cover topics such as logistics, distribution principles and inventory management.

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In partnership with local workforce agencies, the DCEO will collaborate with companies in the pilot areas to identify additional underemployed people who may be candidates for training. Several companies, including Continental AG and PepsiCo Inc., have committed to the program.

PepsiCo ranks No. 1 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest private carriers in North America.

“While COVID-19 has posed unprecedented challenges on everyone, we know that Illinois is still a leader in the national supply chain and a top destination for skilled talent,” Association for Supply Chain Management CEO Abe Eshkenazi said. “Working alongside the state of Illinois and hiring companies, we’ll bring industry-based training to help facilitate career opportunities for Illinoisans who are ready to take the next steps in their careers.”

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