TAMPA, FL -- The Southeast Produce Council announced in mid-April the
addition of a new education program for upcoming retail and foodservice
professionals: the Southeast Training Education Program for Upcoming
Professionals, nicknamed STEP-UP.
The objective of the new training program is to provide an enriched learning
experience for 12 high-potential retail and foodservice professionals with
emphasis on development of strategic business orientation, personal
leadership and hands on field experience.
The program will cover the span of eight months and include a combination
of industry field tours in various southeastern U.S. growing locations and
classroom education on industry topics such as category management,
merchandising, consumer trends and leadership management. In addition to
the hands-on experience, activities will be paired with SPC events to create
additional networking opportunities with industry professionals.
"In keeping with the organization's mission to be the Southeast's premiere
resource for produce education and information, we believe this program
creates a venue to identify and mentor rising talent on the buying side of the
fresh produce business, SPC President Tom Page of Supervalu said in an April
15 press release. "This is critically important to assure the availability of high
quality, passionate leaders for our industry's future growth."
The program is expected to kick off next spring at the SPC Southern Exposure
2011 in Orlando, FL, with the first class of participants. Details regarding the
application process have not been finalized, but the program will be open to
any SPC member in an up-and-coming or junior level retail or foodservice
role including produce managers, produce merchandisers, category managers
or produce buyers. The application process will require a personal biography,
work history, recommendation from company management and a brief essay.
It is expected that the application details will be available starting in May and
the inaugural class selected by late fall.