The Fresh Produce & Floral Council has created a nine-month apprentice program to train and develop industry leaders. It starts in May 2014.

In addition to education on and exposure to the total supply chain, apprentices will learn laws and regulations affecting the industry and wiil be assigned projects to complete between meetings.

The meetings are expected to take place every four to six weeks. Tours, seminars and panel discussions provide the format.

“Developing the next generation of industry leaders is a priority for the board,” Carissa Mace, president of the La Mirada, Calif.-based council, said in a news release. “We’ve been discussing different avenues toward that goal and the apprenticeship program is what has evolved.”

Contact with the industry’s social networks is a priority for the program. Mentors will accompany apprentices at Fresh Produce & Floral Council events to facilitate introductions. Apprentices will also participate in service-related projects like Team Produce at City of Hope’s Walk for Hope.

Applications for the program will be accepted starting in January. For more information, contact Mace at 714-739-0177 or

The program is expected to conclude at the council’s 2015 dinner dance.