Cheryl Freeman Smith, dean of career and continuing education in the Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics (TDL) department at Olive-Harvey College, uses the busy, shopping-filled holiday season as a way to teach her students about the supply chain, according to City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) News.
“Most times, people don’t think about the supply chain,” Freeman Smith told CCC News. “But we explain to students that most of the things they eat, wear, and use were first in a factory and later on a plane, train, or truck to get to them."
The TDL program teaches students how to thoroughly understand the various stages of the industry, from the development of a new product to the sourcing of materials to its production to its delivery and even to its return. Freeman Smith often ties her past experiences in logistics to concepts her students are learning to help further their understanding.
“I share examples that are relevant to students’ daily lives as much as I can,” she said, according to CCC News. “For example, when an influencer mentions a product on Instagram, we walk through what production, sales, and forecasting teams are likely going to do to be sure they can deliver.”
The program's continued success is also attributed to Chicago's infrastructure and geographical location. O'Hare International Airport is one of the busiest cargo airports in the U.S., six of the country's seven Class I freight railroads come through Chicago, and Chicagoland retains six interstate highways, in addition to multiple highway spurs and bypasses.
Program graduates who want to further their education can pursue a bachelor's degree in business administration with an emphasis on supply chain management at Chicago State University with their guaranteed admissions agreement.
“We have strong apprenticeship programs with companies like Quaker Oats and Waste Management and with airlines like United. These partnerships help our students land well-paying jobs,” Freeman Smith told CCC News.