Author: Olivia Hook Frey

Academic Partner Perspective: Kelly Lynch


Written by Olivia Hook Frey

NASPO’s academic partnerships are paramount to our higher education initiatives. Without these impressive partners at colleges and universities across the country, none of this programming would be possible. When we started this endeavor in 2016, we set out to build relationships with top-tier Supply Chain Management Programs and faculty, because we believe Supply Chain Management is the degree program that most closely aligns with the work our members do in state procurement. Since then, we have had some majors wins with each partner. Over the past three years, our goals with each academic partner have morphed. We have discovered the different specialties of each partner.

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Meet Your Future Workforce: 2019 NASPO Internship Program

By mid-September, our interns from NASPO academic partner schools completed their positions with 11 state procurement offices across the nation. This is the third year of the NASPO internship program, and largest pool of student interns to date. Sixteen students from academic partner schools worked in 11 central purchasing offices, from Alaska to Connecticut and Texas to Wisconsin.

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Challenging Conventional Wisdom: Be Bold! 2019 NASPO Leadership Program

A couple of weeks ago, NASPO brought together state procurement leaders and NASPO staff at Michigan State University, our academic partner for a second iteration of the NASPO Executive Development Leadership Program. This program, housed under the NASPO Procurement U team, is meant to provide professional development to leaders in the organization and challenge them to think critically.

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NASPO Internship Program: A Model for Your State

This summer marks NASPO’s third iteration of the internship program, created in April 2017. We are pleased to report that we have now put more than thirty students through our program in thirteen different states. The interns from NASPO academic partner schools live in the cities where their internship is held during the summer and take part in public procurement projects. The NASPO internship program is just one way we are working to combat the workforce shortage so many of our states are facing. Are you interested in participating in an internship program? Click below to keep reading about the NASPO sponsored internship program! Read more “NASPO Internship Program: A Model for Your State”

Academic Forum 2019

The third annual NASPO Academic Forum was hosted May 14-16 at Oregon State University. We were thrilled to take the forum to the West Coast with our partners at OSU! Although it was a bit of a trek for many of our attendees, the event was a success! This year, 70 attendees represented 24 states, 8 academic institutions, a strategic partner and even a handful of students. Academic Forum attendees, both academics and state members, support NASPO’s higher education initiatives with their passion for learning and collaboration.

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Build Today for a Better Tomorrow

NASPO’s Higher Education initiatives are built upon our relationships with academic partners. After more than three years of working with these impressive academics and their students, the answer to a need of our membership often lies with one of our partner schools. NASPO encourages its membership to participate in academic partner career fairs, case competitions and many other events, but the ultimate goal is to build an example for the states to model when reaching out to their local institutions. NASPO has worked to establish relationships with top-tier Supply Chain Management programs across the country. Of course, the primary goal in everything we do is to serve our members, and these partnerships are no different.

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Building a Sustainable Workforce Through College Student Outreach

Recruitment of emerging talent is an effort NASPO has focused on as an integral part of our higher education initiatives.. Since we began this project in 2017, we have attended supply chain management career fairs at each of our six academic partner schools. We take a two-pronged approach; at least one NASPO staff member attends to grab students’ attention and explain what public sector procurement is and why it is an excellent career opportunity; and state members attend to talk to students  specifically about their state’s career opportunities.
We have learned so much from the first career fairs we attended in 2016. In order to gain students’ attention, we e have colorful pop-up banners, NASPO “swag,” and more of a visible presence on these campuses. Through our work with our internship and scholarship programs, as well as speaking in supply chain management classes and supply chain student groups, we have increased our brand awareness. Now, we often have a small handful of students at each fair who come up to our table and know what we do! We have come a long way from that first fair, we still have work to do.
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NASPO’s Contract Administration Workshop

Training and professional development are essential to the state procurement office. Many procurement offices deliver internal training to their staff on a regular basis. The topics of these offerings can be everything from how to conduct an RFP evaluation to how to use the office P-card. Whether an office has a formalized training program resulting in a certification or less formal “hot topic” training, the intent is the same: to improve the procurement process.
In addition to providing internal training, many procurement offices are tasked with delivering training to the agency staff responsible for contract administration. These agency staff may not have a procurement or contract management background but are tasked with the administration of contracts related to their job duties. However, there is a great deal of responsibility delegated to the agency contract administrators, as they are interacting with the contracted supplier most often. Ineffective contract administration can affect the overall success of the contract.

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2018 Summer Internship Program – An Update

We are thrilled that the first true iteration of the NASPO national internship program is off to a great start! From three states and four interns in our pilot program last summer to eight states and fifteen interns this summer, the program has grown substantially. Massachusetts, Utah, and Idaho’s procurement offices graciously agreed to participate in the pilot program in Summer 2017. These offices helped to create NASPO’s very first internship programs in their states- a learning experience for NASPO and for the interns. All three pilot states decided to host an intern(s) again this summer, joined by the procurement offices of Connecticut, New York, Texas, Wisconsin, and Oregon. Many of the Summer 2018 interns have already begun their internships and will work for 10-12 weeks in the state’s procurement function.

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The NASPO Internship Program Experience Part II

NASPO’s Internship Program began in summer 2017 with three pilot states and four interns. From there, it grew to eight states for summer 2018. Among the eight states participating this summer, 14 interns from NASPO academic partner schools have been hired. Our internship program works with state procurement offices across the country to build meaningful experiences for college students over their summer term.
The students from academic partner schools are impressive! They come from top-tier Supply Chain programs across the country- the closest field of study to public procurement. Since the program’s inception, we have honed the process and continue to improve for both the participating states and their students. We have highlighted the experience via webinars and conference sessions, leading to an increase in excitement and interest from our state members. 
Below is the experience of Rei Llazani, who took a NASPO-sponsored internship with the State of Utah in the summer of 2017. Please enjoy what Rei has to say about his NASPO internship, and his tips for creating a great experience for your summer interns. For Part I of this series, please click here. 

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