Gone are the days when STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers mean being confined to a dark research lab or glued to a computer screen. Businesses across all industries rely on professionals with this niched skillset, and the Broad College of Business Midland Research Institute for Value Chain Creation (MRIVCC) is investing in programs to educate local high schoolers on opportunities.

Students at H.H. Dow High School in Midland, Michigan, received hands-on experience buying and selling inventory, managing supply, and planning for demand during Business Principles for STEM, a simulation hosted by MRIVCC, The Dow Chemical Company, and American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS). The program marries STEM skills with supply chain management, and mirrored a similar offering from APICS.

Intern Ryan Vincent checks-in on a group of high school students

MRIVCC intern Ryan Vincent helped organize and lead the simulation for H.H. Dow High School students.

“Up to this point in high school, students have heard very little about supply chain management,” said Aram de Ruiter, director of global supply chain learning at Dow. “This is an introduction to business modules so they can see that STEM is more comprehensive.”

De Ruiter noted that for every Broad College supply chain graduate, seven high-paying jobs await, making it vital to introduce students to this promising field. Broad’s graduate and undergraduate supply chain management programs rank number one in the nation, and its graduates go on to work in a variety of prominent positions in the field.

“Our goal was to establish the important relationship between STEM and business principles and plant a seed of interest in supply chain amongst high school students. This is a growing, dynamic field that offers great opportunities for talented individuals, and by all accounts our first simulation was a great success,” said Katherine A. Franz, MRIVCC executive director.

Dow High teacher Melissa DeBoer said she was excited to offer the program to her three business classes because of the way it helped explain the complex subject. “The program opened their eyes to professional supply chain management, which is difficult to explain and grasp,” she said. “The students loved the program.” Multiple STEM Ambassadors and other volunteers from Dow joined the classes as mentors and assistants, which DeBoer said was an added bonus because it gave students access to working professionals in the field.