As reflected by many of our prior Supply Chain Matters commentaries, there is a talent management crisis across multi-industry supply chain management communities. The crisis arrived in the environment where the urgency for end-to-end supply chain visibility and informed decision-making has reached a peak requirement. At the same time, the wave of highly experienced baby boomers working within SCM disciplines continues to retire. The supply chain talent and skills need is reflected not only in the need for hiring new talent but in the re-skilling of existing SCM focused professionals.

Earlier this month, Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, an institution with broad recognition for excellence in supply chain management undergraduate and graduate programs, unveiled a new and unique Supply Chain Leadership Academy. This new program, provided in an online delivery model, is unique in that it formulated from the stated needs of Penn State’s corporate sponsors in providing an online boot camp that build upon an existing organization’s internal supply chain expertise and addresses critical new required supply chain management skills.

Supply Chain Matters reached out and spoke to Steve Tracey, Penn State’s Executive Director for Supply Chain Research to learn more about this program. According to Tracey, while current supply chain management focused professionals are knowledgeable and efficient within the various pillars that come under the umbrella of SCM, more and more, corporations seek added skills focused on the various touch points of the end-to-end supply chain network. Additionally, CorpU, which describes itself as a partner with the world’s leading business and academic organizations pioneering new approaches to virtual learning communities, was seeking a well-respected academic partner to fulfill needs in supply chain management education for working professionals. This new boot camp program is the initial product of this collaboration and Tracey noted that interest levels among corporations are very high.

Participants will partake of 6 module courses delivered in 3 week time intervals. Tracey emphasized the design as being cohort based applied learning, addressing specific challenges specific to the individual sponsoring firm. Soft skills such as those related to project and change management as well as internal and external based collaboration are noted as emphasized in this program. Faculty will consist of two noted Penn State professors as well as two experienced practitioners. Average boot camp size is described as 20-50 people. Boot camp graduates are awarded a Professional Certificate in Supply Chain Integration From Penn State.

Supply chain organizational leaders desiring further information about this unique program can review a dedicated CorpU web site page.

Bob Ferrari