Transitioning Service Members And Military Spouses Explore Careers In The Baking Industry

USO Pathfinder and Baking Industry Alliance co-host Employment Readiness Workshops

To give ideas and advice about new careers, the Baking Industry Alliance and USO Pathfinder® hosted an Employment Readiness Workshop for service members and military spouses in Fort Riley, Kan. on January 31. More than 50 service members and military spouses who are preparing for the civilian workforce joined 27 baking industry representatives to participate in mock interviews and learning about how their skills can transfer to careers in the wholesale baking industry.

Participants used virtual reality to “step inside” a bakery.

Mock interviews helped prepare attendees for what questions might come up when they apply for jobs soon.

Industry representatives share about the variety of companies and careers that compose wholesale baking. U.S. Air Force veteran Mark Farmer with Grain Craft led the panel.

BEMA President, Kerwin Brown, and BEMA Chairman, Mark Hotze, shared industry insight with attendees.

A few statistics from the event’s participants

  • Plan to relocate within the United States: approximately 70 percent
  • Top three states for relocation: Texas, California, and Florida
  • Top five desired industries: Information Technology, Manufacturing, Mechanics, Transportation/Logistics, and Government
  • Demographics for most participants:
    • Rank: E4 – E6 (Non-Commissioned Officers)
    • Age: 22-28; seeking a career with stability and good benefits since they have many more years in the workforce

At the national level, an estimated 200,000 service members transition out of the military each year. Each transition from military to civilian life is unique, and USO Pathfinder helps service members and military spouses through the process. The Baking Industry Alliance events that are hosted in partnership with USO offer baking industry companies a new approach to support service members and their families, equip them with valuable skills for the civilian workforce, and introduce them to meaningful employment in the industry.

The next careers event with USO Pathfinder will be at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas in May. For more information or to connect with a USO Pathfinder office in a particular region, contact Christine Donnelly –

Baking industry organizations who attended the January 31 event (including donating baked goods for the participants):

AIB International
Alpha Baking Co. Inc.
American Bakers Association
American Society of Baking
Bimbo Bakeries USA
Flowers Baking Co of Lenexa LLC
Gold Medal Bakery
Grain Craft
Hostess Brands, LLC
Kansas State University
Sosland Publishing
The Kroger Co.
Tippin’s Pies & Gourmet Foods


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