Who is Industrial Careers Pathway?
Industrial Careers Pathway, also known as ICP, is a program focused on investing in and building up industrial distribution’s future workforce. ICP actively works to reach, inform, prepare and bring in top talent in sales, management, production, accounting, customer service and other business functions to the industrial distribution field.
The ICP is made up of several industrial distribution associations whose joint effort builds awareness of the careers that are potentially available for young adults in industrial distribution. The partnership consists of the following associations:
- The American Supply Association (ASA)
- Industrial Supply Association (ISA) Education Foundation
- NAHAD (the Association for Hose and Accessories Distribution)
- NIBA (The Belting Association)
- Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) Foundation
- National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED)
What is the Mission Behind Industrial Careers Pathway?
In the industrial distribution field, finding qualified people is a challenge. The industry is inherently mature and careers have been describe as the “world’s best kept secret.” Many colleges offer industrial distribution programs and classes from mechanical engineering to sales and supply chain integration. The task at hand is to direct graduates of those programs to jobs in the industrial distribution market.
Mary Jawgiel, the ICP’s Program Director believes that the challenge is to simply inform students that the industrial distribution industry actually exists. This is achieved by having many ICP representatives present at trade shows, career fairs and even in high school classrooms. The representatives are tasked with proving to students that industrial distribution can be a rewarding and fulfilling career.
According to Jawgiel, many students do not even know what industrial distribution is, let alone what careers may be available for them in the industry. That’s why these trade shows and career fairs are crucial for informing students what could be an invaluable opportunity for their future careers and incredibly beneficial for the industrial distribution field as a whole.
Spreading Industrial Distribution Awareness
A significant way of getting the word out to potential industry workers is to offer tours of a distributor’s operation. In Inner Grove, MN two classes from Simley High School were given the opportunity to tour branches of Motion Industries or BDI. The tours were substantially helpful in further familiarizing students with the world of industrial distribution. In an ICP press release Kim Sievert-DiSanto says, “Students did not quite understand how businesses interact and work together; they thought the branch we visited was the only location. They did not quite understand that Motion Industries and BDI distribute products as well as provide technical assistance. It was quite a learning experience for both classes.”
Jawgiel also comments that the tours are beneficial in bringing the reality of industrial distribution right to the students. It is common that students are unaware of how these businesses operate and many cannot fathom that these companies do billions of dollars in sales. The tours hosted 10 to 15 students and allowed them to ask questions. Along with distribution center visits, ICP is attending specialized trade events where students may be present. For example, many ICP representatives met with students during the SkillsUSA TECHSPO in Kansas City June 24-26 and at the Skills Canada National Competition in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada June 4-6 of this year.
ICP aims to attract all kinds of students but especially focuses on vocational students at a local or regional level. The reason for this focus is that these students are much more likely to have the same interests in three to four years’ time. The members of the ICP are hopeful that more associations in the industry will consider joining in helping this great initiative.
If you’d like more information about IPC, please visit the group’s website at www.industrialcareerspathway.org. Helping ICP means that you will be helping the industrial distribution industry in meeting the talent needs their businesses will need in the future.
1- Keough, Jack. “ICP Helps High School Students on Right Distribution Path” Industrial Distribution. September/October 2014; 50-51. Print.