As supply chain professionals, we know that our field is growing like never before. Current estimates have 200,000 new jobs being created this year alone. With that said, we are faced with a growing talent gap; a lack of supply chain professionals versed in the dynamics of the digital supply chain and the complexity created by today’s omni-channel needs.

Universities are addressing this gap, growing their supply chain departments, offering undergraduate and graduate programs that marry the business and technical needs required of today’s practitioners.   Businesses are addressing this need by creating more internships and educational programs for high schoolers deciding on their career path. The days of business majors “finding” supply chain after starting school has been replaced with college students entering with a clear view to a supply chain career.

We at JDA are committed to playing a major role in growing the industry’s supply chain talent. We’re creating internships, donating software to universities, speaking to classes, mentoring students, and sponsoring university conferences and job fairs. This year at FOCUS we’re hosting a group of supply chain students who will attend customer sessions, learn more about supply chain technology, and meet with industry professionals.

Sandesh Muraleedharan is one of these students attending. Part of the master’s program in Global Supply Chain Management at the University of Southern California, he’s also president of the Global Supply Chain Club and a former JDA associate. Sandesh summarizes how he and his fellow attendees feel about the opportunity to participate at FOCUS:

“Attending JDA Focus will allow me to keep abreast of the latest developments in supply chain software, understand the current and future market trends, and network with industry thought leaders. Capitalizing on this trifecta opportunity will set me apart and greatly help me achieve my career goal.”

This is a great opportunity for them to learn from your experience, if you get the opportunity to meet Sandesh or one our other student attendees, please take a moment to talk with them. If you have any questions about developing future supply chain leaders, please contact me.

Jim Prewitt is vice president of Industry Strategy at JDA and sits on the Advisory Board of the Center for Global Supply Chain Management at the University of Southern California.