No matter what your industry vertical may be, the days of traditional business and business relationships are forever changed. In the age of COVID-19, many people have been displaced professionally, and there are tens of millions in need of opportunity.
The ASCM Foundation was established to maximize the extraordinary opportunity to create a better world through supply chain. The past year has been a call to action for our staff and membership. We have focused on collaborating with government, private foundations and public organizations in order to address pressing global challenges — with a specific focus on workforce development and building frontier and humanitarian supply chains.
When I joined ASCM as the vice president of the ASCM Foundation in May 2019, I never imagined the impact we would make in such a short period of time. Initiatives such as our Global Health Supply Chain Program in Africa, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has created more effective and sustainable supply chains by training hundreds of local practitioners in the APICS body of knowledge. Our U.S. workforce development initiatives have provided certificate programs to people in underserved areas, with a focus on diversity and inclusion. And our work in STEM has taught children of all ages that even a lemonade stand has some complex supply chain challenges!
One program that I am particularly proud of is our partnership with the U.S. State Department President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Dreams Initiative. This program will train a cohort of 300 young women in Zambia and South Africa to be the next generation of supply chain professionals.
Through PEPFAR, the U.S. government has invested more than $85 billion in the global HIV/AIDS response — the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history. PEPFAR has saved more than 20 million lives, prevented millions of HIV infections and accelerated progress toward controlling the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. One of the best-documented ways to prevent young women in Africa from contracting this disease is to provide them with high-quality, good-paying jobs. As the ongoing demand for supply chain practitioners skyrockets, this is an amazing opportunity to close the supply chain skills gap with African women from the Dreams Program.
ASCM Foundation, The Dreams Team, local governance stakeholders and ASCM together enable skill-based training using two-to-four of the APICS Principles On Demand (POD) Foundational modules, a Principles instructor, and a local academic partner. Learners will participate in a 16-to-24-hour certificate experience to facilitate career opportunities in supply chain, with the strong potential for immediate employment. In fact, ASCM has more than 100 corporate members working in Zambia and South Africa. When these women complete their ASCM-recognized certificate program, I am confident they will find rewarding supply chain jobs with one of these members.
In addition, the ASCM Foundation and our partners pledge to provide these women with mentorships and networking opportunities — and we look forward to sharing their stories in SCM Now magazine and the ASCM Insights Blog as they begin their journeys as supply chain professionals.
ASCM and the ASCM Foundation are making an impact through supply chain. That impact comes in many forms; for now, I will be focused on providing workforce development opportunities to the incredible women in the Dreams Program through PEPFAR.