At this week’s “Coffee with the Mayor and Chairman” held at Eclipse, the idea of building an education supply chain was mentioned by Mayor Morrissey. It seemed like an interesting idea that I thought I’d explore. Let’s start with the basics: The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) defines Supply Chain Management as follows:
“Supply Chain Management encompasses the planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and all logistics management activities. It includes coordination and collaboration with channel partners.
In short, produce the product in the most efficient manner and speed supported by all necessary resources. If you think about the education analogy, it could look like this: The Product would be an educated workforce. Chairman Christiansen said “local students have a drop rate of 53% and almost 80% don’t go to college”. The end goal then would be to reduce the drop out rate and increase the number of high school and college grads. Activities would include all resources to make the Supply Chain effective.
The Education Supply Chain concept would link early age students through to middle and high school with our local colleges Rock Valley College, Northern Illinois University and Rockford College. The recently announced expansion of the Running Start program, a collaboration with Belvidere, Byron, Winnebago, Harlem and soon with District 205, is an important resource to the supply chain. The student could attend and receive bachelor degrees in Science or Engineering while living at home while saving a lot of money along the way!
Another key supply chain resource is the creation of Career Academy’s, an initiative being proposed by Alignment Rockford for District 205 and supported by both the Chairman and the Mayor. District 205 board is expected to vote on this initiative during the first quarter of 2012.
Opportunities to assist students that are aiming at science and engineering careers can be supplemented by the Community Foundation’s many scholarship programs. Annually, they award over 100 scholarships worth close to $250,000 to students in the four county region. For example, the Howard D. Colman Memorial Scholarship can award up to $32,000 to an engineering student over a 4 year period.
Resources from the Rockford Chamber are added to the supply chain through programs that introduce students to manufacturing with annual visits to trade fairs in Chicago and factory tours as were done last month. Techworks and Sandvik add to the resources when Dave Morgan introduces hundred of students to manufacturing at Eisenhower and RESA middle schools.
Many other resources are being added to this collaboration that further strengthens the idea of an Education Supply Chain. The future is looking brighter for our students and workforce!