Home Economics Coursework Journal 2014

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Undergraduate supply chain programs are moving towards developing students through experiential learning courses because students are taught technical and soft skills through a dynamic and interactive environment (WMU, 2015) .

The supply chain is the intermediate agent between many aspects of a business, making it critical to prepare students who can handle high-pressure situations and are job-ready on day 1 following graduation.

Moreover, the lack of supply chain professionals due to increasing demand puts further pressure on undergraduate programs to fully prepare students for their entry-level positions (Holcomb, Krul, & Thomas, 2015) .

Western Michigan University’s (WMU) Integrated Supply Management (ISM) program focuses on creating value for the student while meeting the needs of supply chain professionals through its experiential learning coursework.

The ever-changing nature of technology coupled with new responsibilities makes it difficult to find skilled professionals that satisfy job requirements.

This situation will only grow in the new few years as more disruptive technologies enter the market, changing job requirements and desired qualities (MHI, 2107) .Supply chain professionals are in high demand due to the changing demographics of the workforce and the general importance of the supply chain in business (Cottrill, 2010) .Yet, in spite of high demand, in their 2016 Annual Industry Report, MHI and Deloitte found that the biggest challenge companies continue to face is hiring and retaining a skilled workforce (MHI, 2017) .Table 1 provides a list of skills employers seek on a candidate’s resume.Soft skills are often defined as aspects of emotional intelligence such as leadership, communication, teamwork, and problem solving skills.WMU has incorporated experiential learning through simulated experiences into their ISM curriculum using a course focused on demand planning and inventory control.The course is called Production Management and Control (MGMT 4640), and utilizes software called Scrimagge Sim, which was created by the course professor.Experiential learning through simulated environments is one of the ways schools are working to get students job-ready day 1.The Integrated Supply Management program at Western Michigan University utilizes a simulation in the Production Management and Control course to give students inventory control and demand planning experience to better prepare them for their full-time careers.Even with high demand for supply chain talent, students need to realize a benefit to their coursework and feel prepared upon graduation.Most collegiate-level courses focus on teaching technical skills, while employers seek both the technical and soft skills required in the work environment.

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