ngashowThe Food Industry University Coalition and the National Grocers Association (NGA) announced a partnership on Monday for the association’s annual show, scheduled for February of 2013. The show will give students from retail and food programs at fourteen universities an opportunity to further their professional development.

The students will participate in mentoring programs in which they will be paired up with industry executives and tour the show floor together, with the executives answering questions directed to them on careers in the retail field. The career center at the show will have ‘speed dating’ for jobs with the retailers participating and will receive feedback on the paths their careers should take.

As was the case in the previous year’s show, the students will also offer ideas in a competition of a case study. This year’s competition asks for ideas on how the Chief Super Market, which is located in Defiance, Ohio, with 12 stores, can best achieve its mission, which is to delight consumers with great experiences and food. The winning teams will get cash awards of up to $4,000, according to the NGA.

The students will help with a 5K walk, which is the first for the Women Grocers of America, and also moderate workshop gatherings. Weis Harrision, chairman of the Food Industry University Coalition as well as professor of agribusiness marketing at Louisiana State University, said that the opportunity would help the universities to provide their top students with a real-world experience and boost their coursework.

The FIUC’s 13 other members are Texas Tech University, the University of Southern California, St. Joseph’s University, Portland State University, Oklahoma State University, the University of Minnesota, Western Michigan University, Michigan State University, Illinois State University, Cornell University, California Polytechnic State University, Arizona State University and University of Alabama.