The baking industry is bracing itself for a significant transformation in the next five to 10 years when an entire skilled workforce is expected to retire. But according to a recent study released by the American Bakers Association (ABA) and American Society of Baking (ASB) the biggest industry challenges will be to fill those jobs and find workers with the skills needed to take on roles that are becoming more technologically advanced.
The multi-phase study, “Workforce Gap in U.S. Commercial Baking: Trends, Challenges and Solutions,” highlighted several key factors:
- The baking industry is lacking employees at all levels who demonstrate leadership, and who have the needed problem solving and technical skills.
- The increased use of automation/robotics is opening doors for employees with mathematical skills.
- Companies anticipate a growing shortage among unskilled production positions and an increase in the need for scientists.
"We set out to quantify the workforce gap challenge facing the industry, but more importantly to identify and build support for comprehensive solutions," said ABA President & CEO Robb MacKie. "The good news is the baking industry has a wealth of assets to help find solutions, including the critically important training capabilities at AIB. AIB is the cornerstone for skills development for a successful and purpose-filled career in the baking industry."
AIB International is positioned to help the baking industry in all areas of production, the company said, adding that the newly launched Certified Bread Specialist-Industrial provides a career path competency program for baking professionals delivering a combination of e-learning and instructor-led seminars to further enhance students’ knowledge of the function of ingredients and every baking step along the way.
“Since 1919 AIB has been bringing the latest in baking skills and training to future industry leaders,” said Vice President, Baking & Food Technical Services Brian Strouts. “Making time to learn the needed on-the-job skills is increasingly becoming an issue, which is why we’re focused on growing our online courses and e-learning offerings. We know it’s an investment in both money and time to bring bakers up to speed, so we’re working to make our programs more convenient and efficient.”
AIB's baking foundations seminars also provide a hands-on component. The Foundations: All About Baking course focuses on the basics of wheat and flour, trends in baking and equipment used in baking. The next seminar is offered is Oct. 17-21 in Manhattan, Kan. Register online at Certifed Bread Specialist – Industrial.