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Investing in the Future

Friday February 12, 2016
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Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting the Urban Assembly for Global Commerce (UAGC) in New York’s Harlem borough. I was invited to participate as part of an APICS collaboration with SCM-STEM, an emerging partnership with Intel, Arizona State University, Michigan State University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to provide content and support for K–12 programs that create awareness for careers in supply chain. (Stay tuned to find out more about this partnership.)

The UAGC is non-traditional in its concept and design. Founded in 2013, the UAGC works closely with public and private partners to provide opportunities for economic mobility through access to college and career pathways in the growing fields of supply chain management and logistics, the backbone of global commerce. The UAGC has taken on the challenge of building a new and innovative model for high school and educating students to become global citizens. 

The students, who include struggling learners, students with disabilities, and non-native English speakers, come from traditionally underserved populations in New York City. What impressed me most is the commitment of the administration and faculty at the school. This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s had the opportunity to see teachers in action. As with most of our heroes, their passion extends well beyond the job. They create, influence, and build strong and positive relationships with students. These professionals go above and beyond to support students both inside and outside of the classroom. They have an unwavering belief that all students can learn and be successful in a college or career of their own choosing, regardless of their life circumstances. 

Our efforts with the academic community need to expand if we are to prepare the workforce of the future. This is a long-term investment that will pay dividends for many years to come. Some of the ways that APICS will support the UAGC, as well as other programs, include providing up-to-date content, instructional design, training for faculty, and mentoring opportunities. 

This non-traditional and innovative program has made tremendous strides, but it also has significant challenges. At the top of that list, not surprisingly, is funding. The program does receive in-kind support, including from APICS chapters. The APICS NYC Long Island Chapter has provided instructional support for the school and was there during my visit. In order for this program to continue, it will take ongoing support from the public via the various education agencies, private support from companies that will hire these talented students, and associations that will support the participants' ongoing professional development. 

How can you help? Connect with APICS or your local chapter, urge your company to support high school internship programs, and lend your expertise to support the students with actual experiences. 

This is an investment, and you can’t help but be excited about the future when you see the enthusiasm of the students, teachers, and administrators who are developing future supply chain leaders. 
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