The Baking Industry Alliance and USO Pathfinder recently hosted an Employment Readiness Workshop for service members and military spouses at Fort Riley, Kansas, who are preparing for the civilian workforce. More than 50 service members and military spouses joined 27 baking industry representatives to participate in an afternoon of mock interviews and learning about how their skills can transfer to careers in the wholesale baking industry.
Attendees were able to step inside a bakery with the help of virtual reality bakery tours. In addition to the mock interviews, industry representatives led an interactive panel discussion about the variety of companies and careers that compose wholesale baking, and those representatives with military backgrounds shared their experiences transitioning to positions in the baking industry.
“What is awesome about the baking industry is that they have a variety of occupations, which is just like the military,” said Crystal Kearns, USO Pathfinder senior operations manager, USO Kansas at Ft. Riley. “Specifically, you have logistics, transportation, mechanics, manufacturers, marketing representatives—the military has all of those as well.”
“Our partnership with the USO Pathfinder program was created out of a desire to support our country’s transitioning service members and military spouses in a new way,” said Robb MacKie, American Bakers Association president and CEO. “The baking industry is like no other, and it is an honor to help our country’s heroes find civilian positions that allow them and their families to succeed in the next stage of their lives.”
An estimated 200,000-plus service members transition out of the military each year. Each transition from military to civilian life is unique, and USO Pathfinder helps service members and military spouses through the process. The Baking Industry Alliance events that are hosted in partnership with USO offer baking industry companies a new approach to support service members and their families, equip them with valuable skills for the civilian workforce and introduce them to meaningful employment in the industry.
“We, as an industry, are brimming with opportunities for talented leaders like the service members and military spouses I met at Fort Riley,” said Christina Donnelly, staff liaison for the Baking Industry Alliance. “Partnering with the USO allows us to better understand what these individuals are looking for in civilian careers and show them how their impressive skill sets can transfer to successful positions in the baking industry.”
Members of the Baking Industry Alliance include: American Bakers Association, AIB International, American Society of Baking, Allied Trades of the Baking Industry, Bakery Equipment Manufacturers and Allieds, Grain Foods Foundation and North American Millers Association.