See a need: In 2014, dairy producers and industry partners identified “soft skills” as a top consideration when hiring and developing new employees. However, they felt communication and leadership skills were seriously lacking in emerging dairy leaders.

Today’s young people are tech savvy and full of creative new ideas. Unfortunately, proficiency at skills that communicate exclusively using technology often mean that many young professionals enter the workplace lacking core soft skills in communication, etiquette, professionalism and leadership.

While this next generation is formally well-educated, current program offerings do not seem to provide the skills needed for long-term workplace success.

“The future of the dairy industry depends on its ability to attract, develop and retain qualified people,” says Shelly Mayer, executive director of Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin.

“The combination of technical and soft skills is the foundation for a successful career. With Cornerstone Dairy Academy, PDPW is offering foundational business and leadership training not found anywhere else in the dairy industry.”


Fill a need:

Cornerstone Dairy Academy grows leaders

Cornerstone Dairy Academy is a PDPW program that directly addresses growing leadership and communication skills within the dairy community.

Dairy Academy

The Professional Dairy Producers Foundation proudly supports Cornerstone Dairy Academy. The two-day program is targeted to individuals new in their career or transitioning into a different position, who desire the right tools to succeed.

Attendees are a mix of dairy producers, allied industry and aspiring managers who want to heighten their skills. Students who want to grow professionally as they transition into the workforce will benefit from the training, as will those at a career crossroads who want to stand out from their peers and move their career upward.

Cornerstone Dairy Academy equips participants with the resources they need to build a skill set, starting with effective communication, interpersonal skills and collaborative leadership. All courses are geared to engage, nurture new ways of thinking and fine-tune approaches to problem solving, communicating and leadership.

Student and the dairy academyParticipants on the second day put their freshly honed skills to use while networking with key leaders and experts in the industry from across the globe at the PDPW Business Conference. Attendees explore the latest technologies and research while gleaning information from industry experts and speakers.

teaching at the dairy academy

In the past three years 155 emerging leaders from 17 states have participated in Cornerstone Dairy Academy.

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Attend the 2017 Cornerstone Dairy Academy

The Professional Dairy Producers Foundation will again sponsor participants to attend the Cornerstone Dairy Academy on March 14, 2017. Accepted applicants will pay $150 in tuition to attend. Support from the foundation covers the balance of the registration, including meals and room-share lodging, a $600 value.  end mark

“Cornerstone Dairy Academy exceeded my expectations, and I am extremely grateful for having the chance to attend with the industry’s finest. I left with a sense of empowerment and inspiration, which I am still riding today.”
Gary Kearns, Windham, Maine

 “This program is great! It’s essential to keep developing our skills – and our employees’ skills – and Cornerstone shows us how to stay relevant and be more efficient.”
Ryan Schroer, Anderson, Indiana

PHOTOS: Photos by PD staff.

The following update is provided by the Professional Dairy Producers Foundation, which raises funds nationwide and awards grants and sponsorships for educational programs and initiatives that benefit the U.S. dairy community. PDPF is committed to uniting the dairy community on issues of common concern to achieve its vision of a professional, proactive and prepared dairy community.