WMU launches supply chain academies in new tech center

contact: Ken Jones
| WMU News

Photo of men moving boxes in a warehouse.KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University's Bronco Force and Urban Alliance—two local organizations devoted to transforming individuals, companies and communities—are joining forces to provide critically needed supply chain management industry support and training for unemployed and underemployed residents in the Kalamazoo area.

The organizations, with facility support from L.C. Howard Inc., will develop and operate supply chain management academies as an extension of Urban Alliance's successful Momentum program. The new, four-week, fast-track Momentum Supply Chain Management Academies will initially target critical workforce employment needs in the areas of warehouse operations and inventory control. The first academy is scheduled for October at Urban Alliance's new technical center in Parchment.

'Innovative workforce development'

"We are excited to partner with WMU Bronco Force and L.C. Howard on such an innovative workforce development model in supply chain management," says Luke Kujacznski, executive director of Urban Alliance. "This is a tremendous opportunity for our Momentum participants, WMU ISM students and faculty, and industry partners to work together to transform the communities we serve."

The WMU Bronco Force team will support the Urban Alliance initiative by providing the design, layout and operation of the warehouse and related logistics activities. Along with WMU integrated supply management faculty and industry partners, WMU students will help teach the academy curriculum, which has been developed by WMU's Center for Integrated Supply Management.

The longer-term goal of the collaboration is to execute a functioning warehouse and logistics business, tentatively dubbed UAccelerate Logistics. The vision is to provide a self-sustaining warehouse and logistics company devoted to providing competitive industry services in an environment where select Urban Alliance Momentum graduates can work. It would also provide an opportunity for top-performing WMU ISM students to learn how to operate and manage warehouse-logistics activity and supervise a workforce, all in a true employment setting.

WMU Bronco Force and Urban Alliance are working with individual and corporate partners to equip 75,000 square feet of leased warehouse space and 18,000 square feet of classroom and office space in the Urban Alliance Technical Center. Those interested in contributing to this initiative individually or at a corporate level may contact Ken Jones at kenneth.c.jones@wmich.edu or (269) 387-4143.

WMU'S ISM PROGRAM

Ranked in the top 10 nationally, WMU's ISM program has been recognized by several organizations and publications for its leadership in preparing students for careers in supply chain management. WMU's curriculum combines engineering, information technology, logistics, supply chain and business education. The program also requires internships and includes Bronco Force transformation teams, which give students additional hands-on experience addressing supply chain challenges. The WMU Center for Integrated Supply Management was established in 2014 and is housed in the Haworth College of Business.

URBAN ALLIANCE, MOMENTUM URBAN EMPLOYMENT

Urban Alliance creates, fosters and promotes community development programs within urban communities and serves as a conduit for providing multiple services to marginalized residents. Momentum is a program that provides eligible unemployed and underemployed people with job and life-skill training to secure and maintain new employment. It is a workforce development engine focused on removing barriers to work and helping individuals reach their full potential.

For more information, contact Ken Jones at kenneth.c.jones@wmich.edu or (269) 387-4143.