PMA's Foundation for Industry Talent found its roots in one man's bold vision.
In the early 2000s, Jay Pack recognized the increasing challenge the produce industry would have to recruit young professionals to careers in produce. He reached out to PMA with an idea: a scholarship program to expose college students nearing graduation to career opportunities in the produce industry.
The Jay and Ruthie Pack Family Foundation/PMA Career Pathways program was thus born, and the first class of scholarship students were immersed in our industry at PMA's landmark annual Fresh Summit Convention & Exposition.
The Career Pathways family has since grown to include scholarship participation programs at other key produce industry events, including the Fresh Produce and Floral Council's and New England Produce Council's annual conventions, and PMA's annual Food-service Conference & Expo. To date, 256 students have participated in the Career Pathways program; of the 160 students who have since graduated, 75 have taken jobs in the produce industry — a tremendous success rate.
By 2006, the Foundation for Industry Talent was created, with its vision to attract, develop and retain produce industry talent. In addition to the Career Pathways attraction programs, the foundation also sponsors professional development opportunities such as the new Emerging Leaders Program for young professionals, which will debut in June, and the annual Leadership Symposium for senior executives. For more information about the foundation's work, visit www.pmafit.com.
Now chairman of the board of Combs Produce in Dallas, Jay Pack, along with his wife, Ruthie, has been active in every Career Pathways program at Fresh Summit since its inception, each year welcoming new students and hosting events. Their passion for the future of the fresh produce supply chain remains evident.