The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA), Madison, Wis., said online registration ( is open for upcoming educational programs designed to train and retain cheese processors’ valued workers. The programs include the “Front-Line Supervisor Training” program and the “Learning to Lead” management series.

“So-called ‘soft skills’ are truly essential skills as our industry faces a continued workforce shortage,” said Rebekah Sweeney, WCMA’s communications, education and policy director. “Front-line leaders have the ability to reduce conflict, increase productive communication and foster a sense of belonging in a workplace, leading to higher employee retention rates.”

WCMA’s “Front-Line Supervisor Training” program will be offered in three parts and in two Wisconsin locations: Madison and Eau Claire. The core class, Part A, is focused on leadership essentials, WCMA said, including decision-making and problem-solving. On Oct. 22, 2019, Part A training will be held at Madison College – West Campus, and on March 31, 2020, the day-long class will be held at Chippewa Valley Technical College – Gateway Campus.

Part B, focused on emotional intelligence, critical thinking, coaching and performance feedback, will be offered on Nov. 12, 2019, at Madison College. Part C, focused on personal productivity and managing workplace stress, will be offered on March 17, 2020, at Madison College. These classes have earned a cumulative satisfaction rating of 9.5/10 from past participants, WCMA said.

The classes that make up WCMA’s “Front-Line Supervisor Training” are offered à la carte, and may be taken in any order. Tuition costs $129 per participant for courses hosted in Madison, and $159 for courses offered in Eau Claire. Materials, instruction and meals are included.

WCMA said it will also offer a program this fall/winter specifically developed for mid-level managers, or employees transitioning to such positions. The “Learning to Lead”management training series will be offered in partnership with Madison College, via three workshops. The “Critical Thinking and Decision Making” session is set for Sept. 17. “Effective Communications and the Building and Leading of Teams” will be held Nov. 5, and a session entitled “Delegation, Talent Development and Situational Leadership” is set for Jan. 14, 2020. Between each session, participants are asked to complete application projects.

“WCMA’s ‘Learning to Lead’ program teaches managers the skills they need to create more positive, productive work environments — and then pushes them to put those skills into practice,” said Sweeney.

Those enrolling in “Learning to Lead” would participate in all three sessions as a cohort. The cost for the entire series, including materials, instruction and meals, is $495 per participant, and enrollment is limited to 20 individuals. Past participants have rated this series as a 9.7/10, WCMA said.

Successful participants in both programs will be recognized with a certificate at the 2020 CheeseExpo in Milwaukee.

For more information or to reserve a space in WCMA trainings, visit You may also contact Sweeney at or 608-286-1001.