As 2014 comes to an end and we look to the future, I want to take a minute and tell you about some exciting programs we will be launching in 2015. As you may have guessed by the quote, the theme for the year is education.
Our members have been telling us for a couple of years that their employees need to be upskilled to be most effective in today's sourcing environment. They also need brand new skills in many areas that were previously not needed to succeed in Procurement. In response to this plea, we met with our Board of Advisors, held a strategic offsite and put together a business case to launch our own SIG University. "SIG U," as we affectionately call our program, is being created as a fully accredited certification program with interactive online assessments, project work, tests and final exams to cover all areas of Sourcing and Outsourcing. Certification is offered at four levels within an organization, from entry level to CPO, each with its own prerequisites, assessments and learning objectives. The first level of certification will be launched in early April 2015, with subsequent levels coming every 3-6 months until the program is complete. The entire Certification will take place online in an asynchronous learning environment.
To develop the curriculum we have enlisted the aid of many, including our members - people fluent in the day-to-day requirements of Sourcing professionals, as well as academics and other organizations. We are partnering with some organizations to develop a few modules that meet our objectives, and then wrapping them all in proven methodology and knowledge required by our member companies to complete the curriculum. We have hired a specialist in Educational Design, Anne Butterworth to lead this effort; some of you may have met her at the last Summit. Anne's role is to work with the accreditation authorities as well as the psychomatricians to ensure the certification meets the highest standards of education and lacks any bias or ambiguity in the testing arena. SIG U will be one of only two accredited programs with this level of depth and breadth in Sourcing or Outsourcing in the entire industry.
The other educational endeavor that we are excited to be rolling out is our University Outreach (UO) Program. This program is designed to help harness the amazing talent coming out of the top Masters in Supply Chain programs throughout North America. We are partnering with the top ranked programs and supplementing their education by: granting students access to the SIG Resource Center (SRC) while in their course of study; speaking to their classes about the future of Sourcing; and helping them pursue internships and permanent positions with our members. We will be hosting up to 10 students at each Summit and setting up interviews with member companies in attendance. If you would like to sponsor a student for the Summit, please let us know and we can set it up.
How can you help? Please post your internships in our Career Network as well as any open positions you have throughout Supply Chain and within Sourcing. Our hope is to help reduce the constant stress about attracting and retaining top talent by cultivating a pipeline with graduate students and making connections between our members and an eager group of fresh talent. In addition, by exposing these students to real life examples at Summits and through the SRC, we hope that their experiences with SIG will be long remembered wherever their careers take them.
Along the lines of education, I hope you all take a moment and go to the SRC and try the new search capabilities. We have spent the last quarter refining the search filter to enable more relevant and user-friendly ways to easily find what you are seeking. In addition we already have dozens of day long Symposiums and Regionals scheduled throughout North America, the UK and Australia with more dates and cities still to be announced. These one-day events are great ways to provide education on the latest best practices for you and your team. I hope you will join us in one of these cities and share the dates with staff you have in each location. So as we say goodbye to 2014, we hope you will help us welcome 2015 by embracing our spirit for education!