Governors State Hosts Supply Chain Talks
University of Illinois Leaders and State Lawmakers Attend
The state's only supply chain and innovation hub, Governors State University recently hosted a team of University of Illinois (UI) system leaders touring Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) centers throughout the state.
Leaders from GSU, the UI system, and state legislators discussed collaborative solutions to global supply chain issues, and explored opportunities between GSU’s Supply Chain Innovation Center and Business Incubator (SCICBI), local and regional businesses, and other hubs within the state system.
In the meeting, GSU President Cheryl Green called the IIN a “hallmark of achievement for university-community-industry based hubs throughout the state of Illinois,'' and said the university is inspired to lead supply chain innovation.
“We are proud of our efforts to serve as an innovation catalyst for the Southland,” she told the group.
Hailed for its supply chain expertise, Governors State established SCICBI in 2019 as part of the UI–led IIN to improve the state's economy through and inclusive approach to innovation, research, and education.
Located in a region with easy access to rail, highway, as well as waterways, GSU was a natural choice for supply chain logistic innovation. Leveraging the expertise, the university has expanded academic programs, as well as faculty resources, said Jun Zhao, Dean of the College of Business which initially housed SCICBI.
Zhao noted Amazon’s interests in the area, building 11 distribution or fulfillment centers in the region with three opening this year within 15 miles from the GSU campus. The expansion allows the university to advance its mission to promote innovation and contribute to the economic and workforce development of the Chicago metropolitan region, through consulting, training, and other professional services to businesses, and startups in supply chain/logistics and related sectors, she said.
As the global pandemic chokes the supply chain, logistics have become a household topic with consumers all over the country strategizing to buy toilet paper or small tubes of hand sanitizer.
Zhao said SCIBCI is excited about the administration’s new infrastructure plan. “This will allow the university’s hub to play an even bigger role in the workforce and economic development efforts in the region, she said.
In fact, the university has contributed $324 million to the local economy in the last year, Dr. Green said, adding that more than 86 percent of Governors State graduates remain in the area after degree completion.
After the meeting, Sen. Patrick Joyce, whose legislative district includes Governors State University, said he appreciated having the opportunity to work through issues presented by COVID-19.
"There was a lot of hope this past summer that we would see a rebound in production, but we are still recovering. It was a pleasure to meet with the presidents of Governors State University and the University of Illinois to discuss how we can work together to address these issues,’’ he said.
Rep. Debbie Meyers-Martin who sits on the state’s Appropriations Committee for Higher Education, said the meeting underscored the impact of a topic not easily understood. “Supply chain and logistics is a crucial element of the global economy in the 21st century and the cornerstone of product movement and delivery to consumers. Governors State is the perfect place to house this innovation hub.”