Grant helps FGCU create pathway to jobs in supply chain, analytics

3 – minute read

Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) has secured a $2 million grant for presenting condensed online courses to train local workers for well-paying positions in supply chain or analytics.


The grant through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs Grant Program underscores FGCU’s ongoing efforts to build a better workforce in Southwest Florida and spark economic growth in in-demand fields. Awarded to professors Rajesh Srivastava and Anurag Agarwal, the grant will enable FGCU to offer non-credit undergraduate-level courses in supply chain and analytics beginning in March. It will also underwrite a four-course certification in analytics (for credit) at the graduate level.


The undergraduate courses will be conducted in 15-week periods at least twice each year over the next five years.

Competition for jobs in supply chain and analytics is intense. There are five open positions per qualified applicant, according to Srivastava, a professor of supply chain management at FGCU’s Lutgert College of Business. Often, these jobs go to internationals on H-1B visas because firms can’t find enough local workers to fill them, he said.

“The idea behind this initiative is to develop local talent, so that we don’t have to rely so much on foreign talent,” said Srivastava, who also chairs the Department of Information Systems, Analytics, & Supply Chain and directs the Center for Supply Chain Excellence. “We’re building local skills so that firms don’t have to hire H-1B workers.”

FGCU professor
Rajesh Srivastava teaches courses in supply chain management in the Lutgert College of Business.

It’s difficult to recruit H-1B workers, who hold only temporary appointments, because of legal and bureaucratic hurdles, according to Agarwal. A professor of analytics, he’s also program coordinator for the graduate degree program in information systems and analytics and director of the Institute for Technological Innovation


“What you want is permanent talent within your own country,” he said.


The condensed courses in supply chain and analytics are aimed at unemployed and underemployed residents of Southwest Florida as well as working professionals looking for ways to earn more.

data analytics person

In Southwest Florida, the annual starting pay for an analytics position is $65,000-$85,000, according to Srivastava, while a starting supply chain position earns $55,000-$75,000.


To create a viable pathway for better jobs in supply chain and analytics, FGCU is forging a partnership with local businesses. Five industry partners have signed letters of commitment to send FGCU employees who need to enhance their skills, to provide internships for current students or to employ graduates of the program.

What can participants in the condensed courses expect?


Those who take the analytics route can expect to learn key skills including collecting, cleaning, securing and performing analytics on the ever-increasing amount of data that inform key business decisions.


Analytics skills “are not that common,” Agarwal said. “They’re very much in demand.”


The FGCU supply chain courses come at a time when problems in supply chain operations caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic are still being fixed.


Srivastava said that the students taking these courses will learn about each key aspect of building a successful supply chain, including securing raw materials, building a product and getting it to the consumer.


The $2 million grant is comprehensive: In addition to covering the costs of developing and presenting course materials, it will underwrite marketing and recruiting efforts, and provide some tuition reimbursement for participants who complete them. 



FGCU professor
Anurag Agarwal says analytics skills are “very much in demand.”
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