Twelve Grainger, Inc. employees, working in facilities coast to coast, became the first students to earn their introductory supply chain management certificate online at the College of Lake County. They gathered in-person and digitally for a Dec. 16 recognition ceremony at CLC’s Grayslake Campus.
Grainger collaborated with CLC to pilot this online program. While working at Grainger full-time, the students completed five eight-week online courses from January to December, earning a 15-credit certificate that will progress them in their careers.
Speaking at the ceremony, Pam Janson, CLC’s supply chain faculty member, said the program had the unique opportunity to customize class assignments to meet the needs of Grainger supply chain employees who were enrolled. “They were able to network with Grainger colleagues across four time zones and apply much of what was learned to their daily work responsibilities, sharing information about their work environment and approaches,” said Janson.
“These team members were selected by their leaders as examples and top performers in our business,” said Barry Greenhouse, Senior Vice President Global Supply Chain at Grainger. “They learned foundational skills required to grow and thrive at Grainger.”
Graduates were quick to point out the practical resume-building skills and the flexibility of learning online. “This certificate will help set me apart from others,” said Liz Eide, who works in Grainger’s facility in Janesville, Wis. “Earning this certificate helped me become knowledgeable in many areas of the business which I previously had no exposure to, including inventory and transportation.”
Eide said the online courses made it possible for her to juggle the eight-week classes, a full-time job and raising a family. “The instructor was always readily available if I had questions, so I didn’t feel like I wasn’t getting the in-person experience,” she said. “For busy working adults interested in the program, my advice for success is to learn how to best manage your time, and work ahead in classes whenever possible.”
Funded by a grant from Grainger, a business-to-business distributor of products used to maintain, repair and operate facilities, the college’s supply chain management program consists of an associate degree and both introductory and advanced certificates. The online courses for both certificates are available now.
The offerings are designed to give students a choice of programs that best fit their goals and background, whether they have no college experience or already earned a bachelor’s degree. Jobs for graduates include procurement, inventory management, warehousing, distribution, logistics and transportation.
Based on feedback, the courses have included not only online sections but also in-the-field learning, according to Janson. Class work includes case studies, job shadowing and the chance to learn up-to-date technologies such as enterprise resource planning systems.
Since launching the Supply Chain Management program in late 2017, CLC’s has helped area companies reduce turnover and give employees a pathway to move up in their careers, said Lori Oriatti, a CLC business professor who helped develop the program.
For more information on CLC’s supply chain management field, visit www.clcillinois.edu/scm.
About College of Lake County:
College of Lake County is an innovative community college in Lake County, Ill. that transforms lives with its variety of accessible, quality education options. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, College of Lake County provides affordable options in a state-of-the-art setting close to home. A large student network, with small class sizes, provides advantages to our students on a career-related program or a path toward a transfer degree. We’re proud to serve the diverse needs of our community and student body. Connect to your future today at College of Lake County. For more information, visit www.clcillinois.edu.