The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) said it opened registration for its educational offerings — refreshed for 2020 — including the popular WCMA Front-Line Leadership Training courses and WCMA Advanced Leadership Series for mid-level managers. The Madison, Wis.-based association also announced a brand-new class called WCMA Next Step Leadership, specifically geared for established leaders who want to renew and update their skills.

“We know that the development of ‘soft skills’ in managers and supervisors has a positive impact on employee retention rates, and that ongoing education is critical to the implementation of innovative workforce strategies,” said Rebekah Sweeney, WCMA communications, education and policy director. “That’s why WCMA is pleased to introduce a new class, Next Step Leadership, to provide not only a refresher on core elements such as communication, performance feedback, and delegation, but also an introduction to hot topics in the world of human resource management.”

WCMA Next Step Leadership, set for Wednesday, April 22 at Herzing University in Madison, is open to established leaders and encouraged for those member employees who have completed any of WCMA’s previous leadership course offerings. While a refresher on essential skills will always be a part of this course’s curriculum, it will offer new concepts for learning each year, WCMA said. In 2020, the focus is on strategies for inclusion and diversity. Tuition is $135 per person with materials, instruction and meals included, and is limited to 22 individuals.

WCMA Front-Line Leadership Training returns with offerings in the spring and fall of 2020. The three courses in this training track can be taken à la carte and in any order, WMCA noted. They include:

  • Part A, focused on exploring the essential skills to own the role as a supervisor, which will be held Tuesday, March 10 at Herzing University in Madison; Tuesday, March 31 at Staybridge Suites Eau Claire-Altoona, Wis.; and, Thursday, Sept. 10 at Herzing University in Madison.
  • Part B, centered on positively impacting staff performance, which will be held on Wednesday, April 8 and Thursday, Oct. 15 at Herzing University in Madison.
  • Part C, breaking down the key ingredients for cultivating a team, which will be held on Tuesday, March 17 at Madison College-West Campus in Madison (SOLD OUT), and on Wednesday, May 13 and Wednesday, Nov. 4 at Herzing University in Madison.

Tuition for Madison-based courses is $135 per person, while Eau Claire-based offerings run $159. Both include materials, instruction, and meals. 

The highly rated WCMA Advanced Leadership Series, designed for mid-level managers and employees transitioning to such positions, will begin in fall 2020, WCMA said. Offerings include:

  • Session 1, set for Tuesday, Sept. 22, which will push participants to take initiative in driving change and generating positive results for their company.
  • Session 2, which will be held Wednesday, Nov. 11 and will focus on the application of a creative and collaborative problem-solving process.
  • Session 3, which will wrap up the series on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, and will explain the tools and strategies leaders can use to foster collaboration and resolve workplace conflict.

The series will also feature guest speakers from industry talking about their leadership successes and challenges, and requires participants to complete projects that implement their new knowledge, WCMA noted. The WCMA Advanced Leadership Series will be held at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection offices in Madison. Those enrolling in the program participate in all three sessions as a cohort; the cost for the entire series, including materials, instruction and meals, is $495 per participant. Enrollment is limited to 20 individuals.

“These trainings are high-quality, low-cost opportunities for industry employers not only to train, but also demonstrate an investment in their most valued workers,” said Sweeney. “WCMA is pleased to support its members in their efforts to build strong, productive teams and advance their business goals.”

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