The American Bakers Association (ABA) recently launched a world-class training program, “Leadership Development for Front Line Professionals.” Produced in cooperation with Hearthside University, the program is designed to equip front-line supervisors with leadership principles, tools and techniques to improve quality, safety and productivity throughout an organization.

In an effort to develop solutions to address the industry’s workforce gap, ABA’s Human Resources Committee has put emphasis on programs that focus on the recruitment, development and retention of high-potential employees—an area of major concern within the baking industry. In addition, data from the “Workforce Gap in U.S. Commercial Baking: Trends, Challenges and Solutions” shows that 83 percent of the industry struggles with undertrained front-line supervision.

“Helping front-line leaders better communicate with those they supervise is critical to retention efforts, as well as developing the next generation of leaders,” says ABA president & CEO Robb MacKie. “Having better-trained front line professionals is a step toward filling the workforce gap, a major industry initiative for 2016 and beyond.”

Covering topics from managing difficult people and situations to successfully leading change to tackling performance problems, this three-day course supports companies in their quest to develop, empower, motivate and retain current and up-and-coming associates. The program’s interactive, experiential learning style will allow front-line leaders to put principles into practice.

The first program will take place June 1-3 in the Chicagoland area at a yet-to-be determined location. For more information, visit