By: Cynthia Brazzel, Director, Member Relations and Advocacy for the Western Region, Food Marketing Institute

It’s graduation season, that time of the year when you watch your children and their friends wear the regalia, show some school spirit, eat cake and advance in their journey. It’s a season of transition. Since partnering with the Western Association of Food Chains (WAFC) in 2016, FMI is pleased to join with FMI member companies ShopRite (Wakefern), Giant Food, and Coborn’s who are celebrating with their first graduates from the Retail Management Certificate Program (RMCP).  

This marks an important step in these employees’ food retail careers as they have earned the Retail Management (RMC) Certificate, a community college academic program specifically tailored to develop the core competencies in business, marketing, management, technology, organizational behavior, communications, and finance necessary to be a successful grocery leader. The RMC Certificate is nationally recognized throughout the industry as a key credential for managerial success.

Together, WAFC and FMI have partnered to help scale the RMCP nationally. The commitment by both organizations to provide education and leadership opportunities to our respective members is critical to the foundation of our industry’s workforce. Now with the FMI partnership, the RMCP has been scaled to many more states across the country. Besides ShopRite (Wakefern), Giant Food, and Coborn’s Market’s involvement, five additional FMI member companies are engaged in the program including Dorothy Lane Market, Kroger Nashville division, Shoppers, Lowe’s Markets, and Meijer.

The RMC program offers a pathway for food industry employees to advance their careers and enables the employers to retain top talent as well as develop potential talent. WAFC has shepherded this successful competency-based academic program for the last 19 years and now boasts almost 2,700 graduates who are leaders in the industry. FMI is pleased to contribute to this number with some of the fruit from the national expansion of the program. 

Among past graduates, 59 percent report a career boost, either through promotion or increased responsibilities, upon completing this program. The average age of students is 37, highlighting the fact that these incumbent workers are already successful and valued employees in the grocery industry. Many complete the program 100 percent online, while others prefer to attend traditional classes offered at about 150 community colleges nationwide. The success of the program is grounded in the commitment by employers to select the right employees and underwrite tuition expenses in advance, relieving the employee of the burden of one more expense.

Congratulations to these FMI member companies who have supported and encouraged their employees to earn the Retail Management Certificate. We celebrate with you!

FMI is committed to helping our members cultivate leaders who are equipped to handle the complex food retail world. For more information on how to connect your employees to this outstanding program, please visit  or contact Cynthia Brazzel, Director of Member Relations & Advocacy, at 202-220-0627 (