Columbia State, Tractor Supply continue capstone program partnership

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Columbia State Community College and Tractor Supply Company (NASDAQ: TSCO), the largest rural lifestyle retail chain in the United States, have continued their partnership by providing a capstone course in emerging technologies, which two students recently completed at the company’s Store Support Center in Brentwood.

“At Tractor Supply, we strongly value workforce development and the ability to provide learning opportunities for students,” said Rob Mills, executive vice president, chief technology, digital commerce and strategy officer. “We are excited to be able to extend this passion by partnering with Columbia State to provide local students with hands-on learning opportunities in retail and technology.” 

The capstone course allows students to research emerging technologies in the retail industry by exploring areas of study such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things, big data and analytics and other progressive topics in the technology industry.

Columbia State computer science students Shane Sevier and Ethan Pierret completed the 10-week course that started in early October and recently gave a presentation about their experiences. 

Pierret and Sevier agreed that learning about the day-to-day operations of a large corporation like Tractor Supply has been one of the highlights of the course.

“Learning about the inside of a corporate business has been beneficial,” Pierret said. “I’ve learned about how I work, but also about how other people work and what is expected in the workplace.” 

“This opportunity taught me how to understand corporate structure,” Sevier said. “It’s been great getting a first-hand look into what a national retail company is like.”

Deepa Janakiraman, Columbia State program director and assistant professor of computer information systems, has been involved with the program since its inception in December 2017.

“This partnership helps us bridge the gaps between community colleges and the workforce,” Janakiraman said. “Tractor Supply has been an outstanding industry partner and helped to bring this mission to life. The students were able to take what they have learned in the classroom one step further through the program.”

Tractor Supply Company was instrumental in the course development and oversaw the students’ day-to-day work experiences.

“Tractor Supply’s willingness and dedication to work with our students is truly appreciated,” Janakiraman noted. “The feedback from their team was very helpful, and the time spent with Tractor Supply mentors was priceless.”

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