ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Grocers Association here and the Food Industry University Coalition said Monday they plan to collaborate at the annual NGA show in February to help further the professional development of students from 14 university food and retail programs.
Students will be able to participate in a mentor program that will pair them with industry executives who can walk them around the show floor and answer questions about a career in the industry, and they will also be able to take advantage of a career center where they can participate in job "speed dating" with retailers and get feedback on their career paths, NGA said.
In addition, for the second year in a row, students will participate in a case-study competition, which this year will involve the opportunity to offer new ideas to Chief Super Market, a 12-store independent based in Defiance, Ohio, to fulfill its mission "to delight customers with great food and experiences," with winning teams eligible to win cash prizes of up to $4,000, NGA said.
Students will also moderate workshop sessions and assist with the Women Grocers of America's first annual 5K walk.
Read more: NGA Show Floor Sells Out, Registration Up 
"These opportunities allow universities to send top students to enhance their coursework through real-world experience," said Wes Harrision, a professor of agribusiness marketing at Louisiana State University, who is serving as chairman of the university coalition.
The other 13 members of the FIUC, besides LSU, are: the University of Alabama, Arizona State University, California Polytechnic State University, Cornell University, Illinois State University, Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, the University of Minnesota, Oklahoma State University, Portland State University, St. Joseph's University, the University of Southern California and Texas Tech University.
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