USC creates supply chain management program to bridge the skills gap

Many jobs in supply chain management remain unfilled because of skills gaps among applicants. In response to the issue, University of Southern California Marshall School of Business is starting a new online Master's program in global supply chain management. This could increase the number of qualified applicants supply chain recruiters are able to match with firms. 

Over the next five to 10 years, as many as 200,000 supply chain management jobs will go unfilled because of a lack of qualified professionals, Ravi Kumar, academic director of the new program, told Bloomberg Businessweek. This could have a significant impact on growing companies with supply chain needs.

The program's leaders hope to enroll about 40 students in the fall from countries with rapidly developing markets like India and China as well as the U.S. The Marshall School expects employers to sponsor program participants because supply chain managers are in such high demand, according to Businessweek. Though the program is mainly online, students will be given the opportunity to travel to Singapore to learn hands-on applications and see a real world example of streamlined supply chain management.

Why supply chain skill gaps exist
Anthony P. Carnavale and Fred Dedrick, experts on workforce management, told PBS skills gaps exist because jobs lost in certain sectors of the economy may never come back as other industries expand at a rate labor just can't keep up with. Postsecondary education is sometimes unable to match the speed at which technology advances, meaning graduates do not have the skills they need to be successful when they complete school. Business models and processes have changed a great deal in a short span of time, and workers may not have received the right training to keep their skills up to date. 

The two experts believe a sector-specific education program with an internship- like the new offering from USC - can help fill the talent gap because such programs will provide graduates with the skills employers want. They believe education needs to be career-oriented because many students graduate college without acquiring capabilities that are in high demand. 

With the skills gap remaining a pressing concern for supply chain manufacturers, it could be beneficial for firms to seek the services of a supply chain recruiter to fill open positions with qualified professionals. Supply chain recruiters are also able to connect businesses with recent graduates of specialized programs.