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Higher Ed

Higher Education Initiatives

What is Public Procurement?

Public procurement is the process used by government departments or agencies to purchase goods and services from the private sector. Procurement takes place at all levels of government and is subject to a variety of specific laws, regulations and policies that determine how purchasing decisions are made.

Potential careers in public procurement:

  • Buyer
  • Procurement Analyst
  • Contract Officer
  • Procurement Manager
  • Contract Attorney
  • And more!

Where is NASPO this week?

Do you enjoy buying things? Do you like to spend other people’s money?
If so, procurement may be the career for you!

Considering a career in public procurement?

Find jobs at

Buy Cool Things!

A few of the unique items state government procurement professionals have bought or contracted for include:

  • Airports
  • Technology for school districts
  • Prison food
  • Birth control for fish
  • Mountain lion tracking collars
  • Helicopters used to hunt feral pigs
  • Certified inebriated monkeys
  • Life-size t-rex and triceratops

NASPO Higher Education Initiatives

Under the umbrella of Procurement U, NASPO began pursuing a number of higher education initiatives in 2016, with the overarching goal of elevating public procurement as a profession. Since 2016, NASPO has partnered with six colleges and universities across the country, serving each of its four regions.

Why partner with Supply Chain Management Programs?
NASPO chose to pursue Supply Chain Management departments at these public universities, as supply chain is the closest field of study to the work our state members do in public procurement. There is no university that provides an undergraduate degree in public procurement… yet! The NASPO team is working to change that with the help of our academic partners. You can view NASPO academic partners’ Supply Chain Management course list here.

NASPO continues to partner with these top-tier programs to provide value our state members, as well as students pursuing a career in the public sector. Read more about our higher education initiatives, including NASPO’s internship programcareer fair participation and more!

Interested in partnering with your local community college or university for training needs, internships or more? Check out this comprehensive list of institutions near you. Each college/university listed is within a 10 mile radius of the Central Procurement Office.

Arizona State University, W.P. Carey School of Business
Department of Supply Chain Management
Global Supply Chain Management 

Michigan State University, Eli Broad College of Business
Department of Supply Chain Management

Penn State University, Smeal College of Business
Center for Supply Chain Research

Career Fairs

Each year, NASPO staff travels to academic partner Supply Chain-focused career fairs. Invitations go out to CPOs in the region of that academic partner institution to attend and recruit for their office’s open full-time and internship positions.

NASPO funds the cost of the career fair booth, materials and travel for participating procurement professionals.

Since 2017, NASPO has attended career fairs at Penn State, Arizona State, North Carolina State, Michigan State, Oregon State and Chemeketa Community College.

Academic Forum

Academic Forum is an annual educational and networking event NASPO co-hosts at an academic partner institution. Since its conception in 2016, NASPO has held two forums (at Arizona State and Michigan State) and looks forward to taking the event to Oregon State in May of 2019. This forum is an intimate event, hosting up to 100 attendees. This group includes state CPOs, their deputies, multiple academic partners, and even a few students. The main goal of the Academic Forum is to connect our academic partners with our state members to create reciprocal relationships.

The annual Academic Forum is an invitation-only event.

Internship Program

In spring 2017, NASPO gathered a group of CPOs and academic partners prior to the inaugural Academic Forum to discuss the possibility of hosting a national internship program that summer. The group decided that an important approach to elevating the public procurement profession would be to get current SCM students interested in the career. To do that, the NASPO Internship Program was created. Our internship program works with state procurement offices across the country to build meaningful experiences for college students over their summer term.

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 in summer 2018, 14 interns from NASPO academic partner schools were hired. The summer 2019 program worked with 11 state offices to employ sixteen interns. To read the 2019 Internship Program Summary, click here.

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.

2017 NASPO Internship Program Participation

2018 NASPO Internship Program Participation

2019 NASPO Internship Program Participation

Application process for interested states:
The application process for interested states will begin in the fall semester. All CPOs will be sent an internship agreement letter and given several weeks to determine if their team would like to participate in this program. From there, NASPO will announce a date and time to open online applications. Only states who have submitted their agreement letter, signed by the CPO, will be able to apply. The internship grants ($20,000 each) will be given on a first come, first serve basis by region. The total number of funded internships will depend on the annual budget, as approved by the Board of Directors.

Application process for interested SCM students:
Any student from NASPO’s academic partner schools pursuing a degree in Supply Chain Management is eligible to apply for the NASPO-funded summer internship positions. Once participating states have job descriptions ready, they will be posted to each academic partner’s online recruiting site (Handshake, Purple Briefcase, etc.). Once a student applies via the online recruiting platform, the hiring manager for that state receives an email with the student’s resume. The hiring manager and their team in each participating state are responsible for interviewing qualified students. Many states have done this via a video call or over the phone. The internships span the duration of the summer, from anywhere between 10 and 16 weeks.

Read intern testimonials here!

Interested in creating an internship program in your state office? Check out our Internship Toolkit for step-by-step instructions. The toolkit is free and available to the public.

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