Since launching a series of Supply Chain Management (SCM) certificate courses two years ago, this program administered by Essex County College’s Division of Business has trained more than 250 students. A number of these students have taken several of the one-credit courses funded through a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
With the College now unveiling an Associate Degree Program in Supply Chain Management, a special recognition ceremony was held recently for the students earning the certificates, a number of whom also plan to pursue the degree program as well. And the reasons they enrolled in the first place are nearly as many as the number of participating students.
“Since each course is six weeks long, I was trying to take as many classes as I possibly could,” said Arpan Patel. This Kearny resident, who operates a family business, took four of the eight classes. “It was an awesome experience,” said Arpan, adding he may take additional classes as well in the near future.
Certificate courses offered included Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management, Warehousing, Transportation, Customer Service, Demand Planning, Inventory, Manufacturing and Procurement.
Scheduling has worked out very well for Diana LeBron, who commutes to Newark every day from Woodbridge to her job at the FBI field office. “I’m a procurement agent for the Bureau and what I learned in the class (Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management) is definitely helping me in my job. The class was well organized and I was very impressed with the setup.” Diana said she too plans to take additional courses and, hopefully, the degree program in the near future.
SCM represents an effort by suppliers to develop and implement supply chains that are as efficient and economical as possible. The supply chain channel goes from supplier (raw materials) to manufacturer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer.
For Newark resident Shantel Kelly, SCM is giving her the opportunity to improve herself. “After I had my daughter I had to work a lot; I had a fulltime job from when I was 17 to 21,” she recalled. Then Shantel took and passed her GED and began looking for better career options. She took the customer service certificate course and is now looking for more. “I will like to take every last one of them” was similarly echoed by this enterprising student.
Deborah Garvin, of East Orange, also took customer service and is ready for new challenges had this to say “I’ve been working in logistics and customer service in New York and this course will give me a little something extra to move ahead.”
Essex is part of a national consortium known as LINCS (Leveraging, Integrating, Networking, and Coordinating Supplies) in Supply Chain Management. The consortium is comprised of 12 colleges and universities working in partnership with the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals.
The College has several LINCS partners: the Urban League of Essex County (ULEC) and Fleet Distribution Centers, LLC.
“There’s truly a need for SCM, and the Essex courses expose individuals to high demand occupations,” said Patricia Sermon, Vice President for Workforce Development and Financial Opportunity Center for the ULEC. She added that earning college credits, and especially the Associate degree, are a real plus. “This program is giving people the opportunity to have a career.”
Dr. Augustine A. Boakye (Chairperson of Business Division, Essex County College) who supervised the Department of Labor’s LINCS grant expressed his appreciation to the College’s Administration, faculty and staff for their dedication and support in the implementation of SCM-LINCS project. He challenged the LINCS students to be the true ambassadors of Essex County College, share their experiences with the community members and invite them to enroll at Essex for the employable Supply Chain Management Associate Degree and Certificate programs.