Supply Chain Management Program designed to address workforce needs
Contact: Rene Abadie
HAMMOND – A new program being proposed by Southeastern Louisiana University is intended to address a pressing workforce need to develop professionals trained in the management of logistical operations.
The proposed new program, which would offer a bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain Management, would be the first degree offering of its kind in the state.
Under development by the College of Business, the program will prepare individuals in both management and logistical functions as they relate to the distribution and supply chain industry. Its core curriculum will include instruction in acquisitions and purchasing, inventory control, storage and handling, logistics planning and shipping and delivery management.
According to Interim President John Crain, this new degree offering is part of Southeastern’s continued commitment to encourage economic development and enhance job growth in the region by tapping the expertise of its faculty and staff.
“Southeastern has a history of working with our business community and we think this program will help meet the needs of this expanding industry that has great potential in this area,” said Crain. “The university mission emphasizes the need to partner with the business community for the overall benefit of the region. This is an example of putting that ideal to work.”
Currently Southeastern offers a concentration in supply chain management through its Department of Marketing and Finance. The new degree program would expand the number of courses offered to create a more comprehensive program.
The growth of the I-12 corridor and the convergence of interstates, rail and other transportation modalities make the region an ideal location as a hub of logistical services, Crain added.
International trade, logistics and distribution were all highlighted in a recent study as target industries, which are postured to enhance southeast Louisiana’s economic development capacities. AngelouEconomics of Austin, Tex., was charged with cataloging the region’s strengths and weaknesses and then branding those strengths in order to maximize economic development potential. Funding from a Louisiana Economic Development grant made the study possible.
The study pointed to the region’s geographic location as one prime for the establishment of greater distribution and supply chain productivity thanks in large part to its transportation corridor, which stretches along Interstate 12.
According to Crain, Southeastern’s proximity to additional transportation systems including the intersection of Interstate 55 with I-12, two railways and two major U.S. ports in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, both within 50 miles, make Southeastern the ideal location to establish the degree program.
The study confirmed the industry’s need for the program to support future employees and also led to the formation of the I-12 Alliance. This partnership of agencies and entities with economic development interests in the five Florida Parishes was created to build upon the study’s findings and implement strategies to recruit expanding and relocating businesses to the region.
The Alliance is housed administratively in the Southeast Louisiana Business Center at Southeastern where planning, research, and technical assistance aid in stimulating regional economic growth.
According to William Joubert, SLBC director, the Hammond area alone is home to over 3,500 direct distribution positions through national companies such as Wal-Mart, Cardinal Health, Home Depot, Winn-Dixie and Liquid Container. He stated that the number of positions is expected to double, if not quadruple, in coming years.
“Southeastern is taking the lead by putting this program in place to educate and train individuals specifically for future jobs that will need to be filled,” he said. “These are future jobs that will contribute to the long-term economic success of the region.”
The supply chain management degree program is scheduled for review as an item on the Louisiana Board of Regents’ August meeting agenda. If approved, Southeastern expects to have the degree program available to students in the near future.