CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced a new training program designed to prepare more residents for roles in Illinois’ growing supply chain management industry. In partnership with the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), the Illinois Supply Chain Management Training Program seeks to match residents who have become unemployed or underemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic with training for careers in supply chain management – one of the fastest growing fields in the state.

DCEO’s Office of Employment and Training is providing $250,000 for the ASCM pilots through federal funds to support dislocated workers under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The pilots are targeting dislocated workers who have been impacted by COVID-19 and will help Illinois residents across the state seize on the growth of e-commerce, shipping and logistics and transportation industries in Illinois.

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“As our workforce is reshaped by the pandemic, two things have never been clearer – the need to invest in workforce programs that prepare our workers for the jobs of the future as well as strategic programs that can support our health response, which relies heavily on the supply chain,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “This innovative training model by the State of Illinois and ASCM responds to these needs and builds on the work we started from day one of this crisis to support Illinois workers and communities as we work to build back our economy.”

Since the pandemic hit, the rapid growth of e-commerce has generated an unprecedented demand for new skilled workers, with nearly 2,000 supply chain focused job opportunities in Illinois unfilled today. In the next five years, more than 500,000 supply chain jobs will be added nationally. The program pairs a response to the demand for new talent today and in the years ahead with the State of Illinois’ ongoing efforts to create new job training opportunities for residents and those especially impacted during COVID-19.

“As our communities across the state continue to feel the impact of the pandemic, we’ve made it our focus from day one to invest in training that will help workers get back on their feet, and into well-paid, in-demand roles of today,” said DCEO Director Erin Guthrie. "Illinois is already home to one of the most talented workforces in the country and is a leader in the national supply chain. Through this new partnership with ASCM, we will develop a diverse pipeline of talent that allows companies to plan for long term growth here while ensuring our residents can seize the thousands of jobs coming to Illinois in the years ahead.”

Set to begin next month, the program will be piloted in some of Illinois’ largest supply chain hubs, Southern Cook County, Metro East and Southern Illinois. An initial 250 participants will begin a one-week virtual training program, with industry aligned curriculum from ASCM covering topics such as inventory management, logistics and consumer distribution principles and basic management skills. At the end the training, participants will receive a certificate in Essential Supply Chain Management Skills. Those who complete training will have an opportunity to work with their local workforce agency to apply for supply chain careers available in the area.

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“The ASCM Foundation is committed to strengthening supply chains around the world by attracting more people to the industry and providing the education and training necessary for career success,” said ASCM CEO Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE. “While COVID-19 has posed unprecedented challenges on everyone, we know that Illinois is still a leader in the national supply chain and a top destination for skilled talent. Working alongside the State of Illinois and hiring companies, we’ll bring industry-based training to help facilitate career opportunities for Illinoisans who are ready to take the next steps in their careers.”

Several Illinois companies have committed to the pilot program, including companies Continental Tires, Geodis, DB Schenker, Worldwide Technologies, PepsiCo, and Phoenix Elevator. DCEO, in partnership with its local workforce agencies facilitating training, will work directly with companies located in the pilot areas to identify additional underemployed individuals as candidates for training, and to scale the program to meet additional workforce demands in 2021.

“The fast-growing supply chain is a key economic driver for the Southwestern Economic Development Region, and the need for trained workers in this area continues to grow as well,” said Tony Fuhrmann, Director of the Madison County Employment and Training Department, workforce training partner for the Metro East Hub. “We are proud to partner with DCEO and ASCM to pilot a new industry training program that will pair businesses in need of trained employees with talented residents of our community looking to take the next step in their career or to simply get back on their feet.”

“In our never-ending quest for training tools to prepare the residents of southern Illinois for the jobs of tomorrow, we are thrilled to be a part of the new Illinois Supply Chain Management Training Program to help connect hiring companies with talent in the region," said Kathy Lively, CEO, Man-Tra-Con, Corporation, Southern Illinois Workforce Development Board. “Thanks to the team at DCEO and ASCM we will provide industry aligned supply chain management training to prepare Illinois residents the thousands of e-commerce jobs today, with many more to be added in the future.”

These expanded training opportunities build on continued investments by the State to respond to record unemployment created by COVID-19 and to help dislocated workers return to the job site. Last fall, Governor Pritzker announced a $16.6 million investment for Illinoisans who lost their jobs during COVID-19, leveraging U.S. DOL grant funding to create training and hiring opportunities for as many as 1,300 residents over the next year.

To learn more about training in supply chain management or to sign up for any other workforce training programs, please visit DCEO’s Illinois WorkNet page or Get Hired Illinois – a one-stop-shop portal created by the Pritzker administration to connect Illinoisans with available training and hiring opportunities with growing industries during the COVID-19 crisis.

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