By: Cynthia Brazzel, Director, Member Relations and Advocacy for the Western Region, FMI


Our essential industry has a responsibility to ensure that our practices foster economic opportunity and racial equity. We need equitable programs that catalyze a stronger, more sustainable future for everyone. One program that meets this criteria is the FMI-endorsed Retail Management Certificate (RMC), led by the Western Association of Food Chains (WAFC).

FMI has a long-standing partnership with WAFC to expand the reach of this program nationwide to the retail food industry. We recognize that the food industry’s most vital and sustainable resource is people.

The RMC’s engaged employer-partners nationwide recognize the critical importance of integrating workforce development into business strategy, and they strategically use the Retail Management Certificate program as a long-term approach to employee education and leadership development, as they pre-pay tuition and sponsor their employees in the program.

The Retail Management Certificate can be a powerful tool to foster social justice:

  • First, the highly relevant 8-course curriculum empowers workers to acquire critical skills and competencies that enhance career opportunities, and simultaneously provides college credit that leads to affordable, in-demand degrees.


  • Second, the program is intentionally delivered through our nation’s community colleges to significantly increase access to all workers in our industry. A high school diploma or GED is not required for adults to enroll in the RMC classes, thereby removing a barrier to higher education. The curriculum can be accessed 100% online asynchronously, enabling workers to manage family commitments and remove transportation issues.


  • Finally, community colleges are among the most affordable higher education options, thus mitigating the cost barrier that so often is linked to social justice.

To create a more inclusive and equitable future for our industry’s workforce, every employer should integrate – and pre-pay – the Retail Management Certificate Program help transform their organization into one that strives for economic viability and allows all people to thrive.

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