By: Haley Pierce, Manager, FMI Foundation 

Kids cooking in a kitchen

I’ve always been interested in food. My mom was an avid grocery shopper, and I was her faithful sidekick and co-conspirator on the quest for food. The grocery store was a place of wonder for me — part scavenger hunt, part bargain search and all-around adventure as we picked up favorites, explored new products and admired innovative displays. Our local supermarket was a magical place, but I had no idea how many wizards were pulling levers and pushing buttons behind the curtain to make it so.

While I interacted with stockers, baggers and store associates, I was previously unaware of the wide breadth of career opportunities available in the food industry. To ensure that young people today don’t have that gap in their awareness, I’m excited to share that the FMI Foundation workforce initiative, Inspiring Careers in Food, has launched, offering FMI member companies a means of reaching younger audiences with information about the wealth of vocational choices available within the food industry. 

The Inspiring Careers in Food initiative is a partnership between the FMI Foundation and Junior Achievement USA and aims to introduce K-12 students to the plethora of job possibilities available within the food industry: store management, merchandising, food manufacturing, supply chain, shelf availability & inventory management technology, security and asset protection, food branding and marketing, even sustainable packaging development, among many others. Had I known the wealth of opportunities available within the food industry, I would have been eager to pursue it, first as a high-schooler working within a grocery store or manufacturing facility learning the many roles that exist there, and then as a college student preparing for my next career.

Under the Inspiring Careers in Food initiative, companies can get face time with the next generation of workers — K-12 students exploring career opportunities. In fact, this past year’s pilot program participants, SpartanNash and Publix, got connected to their local chapters of Junior Achievement. Their employees participated in activities like volunteering within a classroom, serving as a storefront sponsor for JA BizTown or participating in a speaking engagement on what a typical day within their company could look like. All companies want dedicated professionals prepared to support their missions and recognize the food industry as a place to start and cultivate their careers. Why merely wonder whether the food industry is compelling to the next generation of workers? Why wonder whether you are making an impact among college students at career fairs when you can know you’re making an impact with younger students? Make an impact now by exploring a partnership in the Inspiring Careers in Food program. 

To sign up, we'd like for senior-level leaders to fill out the survey. A member of the FMI Foundation team will be in touch with the next steps of the program, including getting connected to your local Junior Achievement chapter’s leadership or learning more about the workforce development opportunities available for your staff.