The Southeast Produce Council’s (SEPC) STEP-UPP program is one of the top educational programs available to the upcoming produce professionals in the retail sector. The program is designed to be a liaison between the grower/shipper and the retailer to learn about each other’s challenges and is a perfect opportunity for individuals new in their position or those excelling and ready to take a STEP-UPP in their career! Applications for the 2024 class are being accepted now through Friday, July 7, 2023 before 5 pm EST. Only 10-12 students are accepted each year, so get your application in today!
I have been fortunate to be a part of it since the beginning and can attest to how wonderful this is for the “up and coming”. It is so rewarding to hear from past members sharing where they are now in their careers and most attribute it to their involvement with “STEP-UPP”. The hands on experience received, the relationships developed and the intense knowledge gained compares to none!
The participants will be announced at SEPC’s Southern Innovations 2023 in September, the first trip will be to Tampa, Florida for Southern Exposure 2024 then the fun begins with trips to different area’s in the Southeast visiting farms, warehouses etc. Virtual classes are also included with presenters from areas outside the southeast and even out of the States! Produce inspection classes are also offered. Just a wealth of knowledge can be obtained. Each participant will gain a better understanding of what is involved in getting the fresh produce to it’s destination.
I have to confess that I have been in the produce world longer than I want to admit and I still gain new knowledge on each trip, especially with all the new innovations and technology involved! I urge all retailers who are “Up and Coming Produce Professionals” to register now to become a part of this outstanding program!
Special Thanks to Mike Roberts VP of Produce Operations with Harps Food Stores and Gary Baker Senior Director of Fresh Produce with Merchants Distributors for all their hard work and diligence to make this program better and better each year!