By 2025, sixty million baby boomers will leave the workforce – but only forty million millennials will enter it in their place. Increased budgets for training and new technology fail to remedy the impending talent deficit. In the supply chain field, we must combat the talent gap through investing in the development of supply chain professionals and focusing on the early and continued education of students about their career options.
To address the need for early education, APICS has launched a new, updated Supply Chain STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Educational Outreach Program. This program introduces K-12 students to supply chain, demonstrates the importance of supply chain management, and showcases career paths within the industry.
Students retain information more effectively with interactive learning. Hands-on activities also sharpen critical thinking. In fact, a recent study from Carnegie Mellon University found that students learned six times more when given interactive lessons instead of watching a presentation. The Supply Chain STEM Program offers students ample opportunities to participate in hands-on activities related to supply chain management. The program also tailors learning activities to specific grade levels and engages students at an early age to show how supply chain affects their lives.
Take Supply Chain STEM’s Lemonade Activity, for example, which helps illustrate how lemonade comes to market. With the program, students from kindergarten through fifth grade learn about STEM concepts and four key areas of supply chain: source, make, deliver, and reuse/recycle. Using their five senses and the testing of hypothesis through experimentation, students get a firsthand look at supply chain in action.
The program also offers the LEGO Booth Activity, geared towards middle and high school students. This activity introduces more advanced engineering and supply chain topics — like prototype design and creation, and test engineering — as students develop their own unique LEGO cars and assess the car’s performance. Other activities in the APICS Supply Chain STEM portfolio include:
- The Paper Airplane Activity (Middle school)
- The Cell Phone Game (High school)
- The Lemonade Career Day Activity (K-2)
Cheryl Dalsin, founder of the APICS STEM program, believes the interactive learning inspires students to pursue careers in supply chain.