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Inaugural class completes online Supply Chain Management certificate

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Jan 06, 2020

Twelve Grainger team members, working in locations coast to coast, became the first students to earn their introductory supply chain management certificate online at the College of Lake County (CLC). They gathered in-person and online for a Dec. 16 recognition ceremony at CLC’s Grayslake Campus.

Grainger, a business-to-business distributor of products used to maintain, repair and operate facilities headquartered in Lake Forest, Ill., 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 2019, earning a 15-credit certificate that will help them progress their careers.

Speaking at the ceremony, Pam Janson, CLC supply chain faculty member, said the program had the unique opportunity to customize class assignments to meet the needs of Grainger supply chain team members who were enrolled. “They were able to networkPhoto of December 2019 graduates of supply chain management program 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.

Photo: Among the 12 Grainger employees who completed CLC's introductory supply management online certificate in December are, from left, Kelly Hassinger and Liz Eide. At the right are Francisco Aguilar and Danielle Liker. Pam Janson, center, is a CLC supply chain management instructor.

“These team members were selected by their leaders as top performers in our business that were interested in further developing and investing in themselves,” said Barry Greenhouse, Senior Vice President, Global Supply Chain and Customer Experience 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 helps set me apart from others,” said Liz Eide, who works in Grainger’s office in Janesville, Wis. “Earning this certificate made me more 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 family time. “The instructor was always readily available if I had questions, so I didn't feel like I was missing the in-person experience,” she said.

Another graduate who found the program valuable is Francisco Aguilar, a project manager at Grainger. "The certificate has helped me be successful in my current role because I now understand the supply chain from end to end," he said. "Courses such as Introduction to Office Software provided great practical tools. Additionally, strategic courses such Operations Management and Elements of Supervision provided context in subjects such as diversity and managing teams.

“Being able complete the certificate online was critical to my success. As a working adult with family, I was able to connect wherever I was to keep up with the course and submit assignments on time.”

Funded by a grant from Grainger, 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 online certificate is suited for students with no prior college experience and those who already have a degree. Jobs for graduates include procurement, inventory management, warehousing, distribution, logistics and transportation. “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 program options, visit


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.