Western Michigan University’s Bronco Force recently joined forces with Urban Alliance, an organization devoted to fostering and promoting community development programs within urban communities. Their joint initiative will provide critical supply chain management industry support and training for unemployed and underemployed residents in the Kalamazoo area.
With facility support from L.C. Howard Inc. in Parchment, Michigan, Bronco Force and Urban Alliance are operating supply chain management academies, called Momentum Supply Chain Management Academies. Kalamazoo Valley Community College recently joined the partnership as well.
The academies are four-week, fast-track programs that target workforce employment needs in the areas of warehouse operations and inventory control. WMU students, along with faculty and industry partners, help teach the curriculum.
The long-term goal of the project is to execute a functioning warehouse and logistics business that could provide competitive industry services in an environment where graduates of Urban Alliance can work and where WMU students can experience a true employment setting. Bronco Force has supported Urban Alliance by providing the design, layout and operation of the activities.
“The integrated supply management program at WMU excels at developing innovative, nontraditional ways of educating tomorrow’s supply chain professionals,” says Ken Jones, director of education and applied solutions for the WMU Center for Integrated Supply Management. “The Bronco Force collaboration with Urban Alliance, L.C. Howard Inc. and KVCC is just one example of engaging students and providing real-world experiences that go well beyond the classroom.”
The initiative was a finalist for the 2017 Manufacturing Leaders Talent Engagement Award. The peer-reviewed awards recognize innovative manufacturing organizations and strategies. WMU’s Bronco Force was among industry leaders IBM and MAGNA as a finalist.