Students from marketing, food science, design, culinary and engineering fields again got an inside look at the industry, as The Confectionery Foundation hosted 100 visitors through its Next Generation program, which is in its fifth year at the Expo. This morning 20 interns from food science and marketing programs received training, helped setup, toured the show floor and watched presentations on branding led by Just Born, Inc. Co-CEO Ross Born, and a sustainability colloquium, which was delivered by Jerry Hagedorn, vicepresident of Barry Callebaut Americas. Tomorrow all program participants will be on hand to hear briefings on confectionery careers, tour the show floor and meet with industry leaders on their companies’ booths. “The success of confectionery companies hinges on attracting highly competent talent,” said Keith Sakamoto, president and CEO of Hawaiian Host, Inc., which has hosted booth visits since the initiative’s inception. “This program is leading the way to ensure that there will be ample talent to drive our industry in the years to come.” In addition, a lunchtime NCA Young Professionals Network (YPN) panel will further explore job opportunities in the category as well as working on communication skills for professional environments. “As an industry, we really want to encourage fresh ideas, new growth and attract more brilliant young people to our profession, and The Confectionery Foundation succeeds in accomplishing that in a very inspiring way through the Next Generation initiative,” Lisa Shapiro, director of café & convenience for Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC, told Candy & Snack TODAY. Shapiro is moderating the YPN panel. In past years, industry members have related the need for more qualified candidates for R&D and engineering positions, according to Sarah Clair, who chairs the Foundation. To meet these needs, Katherine Clark, of Capol LLC, wrote personal letters to chairs of food science departments at midwestern universities to encourage students to apply. The Confectionery Foundation is again sponsoring culinary students at the Expo, offering tours of the show floor, along with briefings on career opportunities in the candy industry. Clair said as a result of this effort, program participation from those fields, as well as overall, has increased this year. “I see the Next Generation program as the perfect platform to showcase our creative and dynamic industry to bright minds,” Clark told Candy & Snack TODAY. “I enjoy talking with food science students about the multitude of career opportunities within our industry and the program serves to facilitate those conversations.”
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