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ASCM Insights

Real People, Real Impact


In each edition of SCM Now Impact, I write about the power of supply chains to positively influence global economies, communities and individuals. Over the years, I’ve explored the importance of resilience when facing geopolitical shifts, cybercrime, resource scarcity and countless other risks. Many articles have discussed the critical need to eradicate forced labor from our networks and the importance of pioneering corporate social responsibility. Often, I’ve talked about how industry leaders can tap into the value of diversity in building smart, strong teams.

I’ve considered disruption in the automotive space — electric cars, autonomous vehicles and the exponential growth of Uber-style services. Numerous stories have examined Amazon, the e-commerce boom, omnichannel and real-world strategies to simplify complex networks while providing exceptional customer service.

Recently, I announced our involvement with the President’s Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Dreams Initiative, through which we will train young women in Africa to be the next generation of supply chain professionals. And of course, many stories have highlighted the countless ways that supply chains can help vaccinate billions of people and defeat a global pandemic.

All of these topics clearly demonstrate how ASCM’s global community is creating a better world through supply chain. But sometimes the subject matter feels so broad and multifaceted that it can be difficult to pinpoint the impact we’re making. This week, however, that impact is crystal clear.

Since the pandemic hit, the rapid growth of e-commerce has generated an unprecedented demand for skilled supply chain workers. Hundreds of thousands of professionals are needed right now to meet demand. Here in ASCM’s home state of Illinois, there are nearly 2,000 supply chain job vacancies. Meanwhile, the state is facing an unemployment rate of 7.6%, largely a result of COVID-19.

To close the supply chain talent gap and help people secure rewarding career opportunities, the ASCM Foundation is proud to announce a new partnership with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). The training program will match unemployed and underemployed residents with real jobs in the state’s growing logistics, transportation and distribution industries.

The initiative will be piloted in some of the state’s largest supply chain hubs. An initial 250 participants will embark on the virtual training program, with industry-aligned curriculum from ASCM covering principles of inventory management, consumer distribution and much more.

Those who complete the training will receive a certificate in Essential Supply Chain Management Skills. Then, they can access local workforce agencies and apply for supply chain jobs. Several Illinois companies have committed to the pilot program, including Continental Tires, Geodis, DB Schenker, Worldwide Technologies, PepsiCo, and Phoenix Elevator.

As always, ASCM is committed to strengthening supply chains everywhere by attracting more people to the industry and providing the education necessary for career success. COVID-19 has posed unprecedented challenges. This partnership is a meaningful step toward renewal and life-changing career opportunities for future supply chain professionals.

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer at ASCM, the largest nonprofit association for supply chain and the global leader in supply chain organizational transformation and innovation. Prior to this, he was the managing director for the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. His leadership roles have included project management, business process redesign, and individual and organizational alignment. Eshkenazi may be contacted through

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