With a host of logistics companies like Saddle Creek calling Polk County home, the need for a talented, highly skilled workforce in supply chain management is critical.

“Central Florida, and in particular Polk County, is the distribution hub for approximately 10 million people in a 100-mile radius,” according to Dr. James Fenton, dean of the Barney Barnett School of Business & Free Enterprise at FSC, and faculty in the Master’s of Business Administration program there. “Many supply chain-related jobs are both high-skill and high-wage positions that will benefit Polk County.”

Florida Southern College’s graduate certificate program in Supply Chain Management is preparing the employees of today to be the leaders of tomorrow. FSC’s certification program offers classes in such areas as operations management and Six Sigma certification preparation so students are ready to thrive in one of the fastest-growing fields in the U.S.

The business program within the Barnett School is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), considered “the mark of excellence in business education earned by fewer than 5% of business schools worldwide,” according to FSC’s website.

“Our academic programs are all highly application oriented — in a word, ‘practical,’ ” Fenton said. “Though each discipline is theory based, we emphasize the application of theory in our teaching. Our undergraduate programs require an internship. When our students graduate, regardless of their major, they are job ready.”

The Florida Southern program is designed to enhance communication, business analytics, leadership and decision-making skills of those already working in the field, as well as potential new hires. Classes are offered one of two ways:

  • Saturday hybrid, where students attend classes on campus two Saturdays a month, then complete the rest of the coursework online.
  • Online, where students attend classes via the internet using their personal computers.

Students who graduate with a certificate in Supply Chain Management are “highly qualified for a team leadership position in any functional area of an organization providing a product or service,” according to Fenton and the faculty. Since the program started in 2017, 12 certificates have been awarded, with 11 going to people already working in logistics-related positions in Central Florida.

OTHER HIGHER ED OFFERINGS

Polk State College offers an associate’s of science degree in supply chain management, incorporating “the newest technology and state-of-the-art equipment in preparing students to work in this exciting career field,” according to its website. “Supply chain management graduates work in diverse areas, such as strategic sourcing and supply management, project management, purchasing and inventory management, production planning and scheduling, logistics and distribution management, and quality management.” Students can also earn a Transportation & Logistics Specialist certificate, which is an 18 credit hour program.

Students can also attend the Supply Chain Management Institute at Polk State’s Corporate College. There, they can “ultimately gain certificate training, specialist certification, expert-in-field certification, articulation to college credit, or an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree. These options benefit students, businesses, and the local economy,” according to the website. “The Corporate College is implementing ambitious training programs that provide the workforce with a pool of well-trained and highly skilled individuals.”

Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland also offers a concentration in logistics and supply chain management under its Business Analytics degree program. Its website says Florida Poly students will “develop knowledge of the business and technical aspects of managing large-scale delivery operations. The expert in LSCM optimizes these complex network to ensure efficiency and satisfaction.”

Keiser University offers a bachelor of arts degree in business administration with a concentration in Transportation and Logistics.