NEWARK, Del. — The Produce Marketing Association's Foundation for Industry Talent reached a fund-raising milestone recently, raising more than $3 million for its efforts to attract top recruits into the produce industry workforce.
“We are pleased to have reached this milestone to help fund the foundation's vital work to recruit, retain and develop the skilled workforce we all need,” Steve Barnard, chairman of the board of PMA FIT and president and chief executive officer of Mission Produce, Oxnard, Calif., said in a release. “Our campaign committee has been working tirelessly over the last several months, and it is great to see everyone's hard work pay off.”
Barnard said the industry was facing “a real talent crisis” ahead, and that the success of the foundation's recruitment and retention initiatives was dependent on successful fundraising.
Currently, the foundation operates a produce industry-specific job bank for entry- and intermediate-level positions, a campaign designed to attract students to the produce industry, and Career Pathways scholarships, which bring students to industry education and networking events, including PMA's annual Fresh Summit convention.
The foundation is also working to develop tools to help industry businesses encourage employee loyalty and retention, and leadership training and educational tools for existing industry leaders.
In related news, PMA last month established a new scholarship in honor of industry veteran Terrence “Tip” Murphy. The Tip Murphy Legacy Fund will aid industry professionals seeking to advance their leadership skills and better serve the produce industry by providing scholarships to PMA. The goal of the fund is to raise $250,000 by 2012 to fund scholarships in perpetuity.