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Price Chopper Goes to College

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. - Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) and Price Chopper have joined forces to create a new curriculum tailored to the 106-strong supermarket chain's employees, according to published sources.

Next year Price Chopper associates will be able to take business courses customized for aspiring store managers. If the program succeeds, Troy, N.Y.-based HVCC stands to gain more students and a higher profile in the six states where Price Chopper has stores. In turn, the retailer will get workers educated to help it train managers.

"Training managers has become more technical. It's something we need to take outside the store, off the floor," Doug Olsen, training and development manager for Golub Corp., Price Chopper's parent company, told the Albany Times Union.

Neil Golub, Price Chopper's chief executive, and Marco Silvestri, HVCC's interim president, revealed their partnership at a news conference at the college's Bulmer Telecommunications Center.

Those who complete the program, which will be open to all Price Chopper employees, will receive a 32-credit certificate in supermarket management and operations. The program will comprise five business administration classes that HVCC already offers, as well as four new classes designed for Price Chopper, including "Introduction to the Supermarket Industry" and "Supermarket Management."

"The exposure to food marketing that makes this educational partnership unique is that which will ultimately springboard students into career opportunities at Price Chopper," noted Golub.

Employees who finish the program aren't guaranteed management positions, and the HVCC program isn't required to become a Price Chopper manager, although potential store managers must have an associate degree at a minimum, according to Olsen of the Golub Corp.

Price Chopper will offer scholarships and tuition reimbursements, the amounts of which will depend on students' academic and financial situations.

HVCC faculty members are collaborating with Price Chopper to develop the courses. The college expects to enroll 15 Price Chopper associates for the semester that starts in January. The State University of New York, which governs HVCC, as well as the state Education Department still must approve the new curriculum.

According to Richard Bennett, HVCC's director of continuing education, students who earn the Price Chopper certificate will have half of the credits required for an associate degree.
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