Fast-track management programs

Patti Breckenridge

Patti Breckenridge

Quite a few retailers visit college campuses to market their fast-track management programs.

They offer management trainee positions to some of the new graduates who want to be managers as quickly as possible. These are generally hourly positions with little management authority, but with a clear progression to management positions if training is completed, performance is good, and management openings occur.

We purposely do not have a position titled management trainee in our stores. Instead, we have 16 positions leading to management with titles like Grocery Team Leader and Customer Service Team Leader.   Most of these positions lead directly to entry level management positions.  Like management trainee positions at other retailers, they are hourly positions with a clear progression to management if training is completed, performance is good, and management openings occur.

There are several advantages to our job structure, both for our associates and for the company.

  1. Our career paths provide management preparation for a large number of associates, not just one or two in each store since there are numerous associates in each of the 16 positions leading to management.   This assures the company of a rich pool of potential managers, vital to our growth since we continue to open dozens of new stores each year (even in a recession).
  2. Our promote-from-within culture has inspired many associates who came to us for a short-term job to stay with us a for a career because they couldn’t pass up the many opportunities to advance.  This is particularly true because Publix pays above-average salaries for store management positions (an average of $44,991 for assistant department managers, $65,561 for department managers, $82,102 for assistant store managers and $112,911 for store managers).
  3. Our promote-from-within culture benefits the company because it ensures that the many practices responsible for our success will be preserved.

College students don’t seem to mind the difference in how we title our management trainee positions, but they do wonder if companies that have an official fast track training program will promote them more quickly than we will.  I tell them that associates become eligible for promotion within just six months of being in a position leading to management.   Our promotion process allows them to submit their name for consideration at any time during the year.  And as long as we keep growing, we will continue to need about 3,000 new managers a year.

I remind them, too, that as important as speed may be to them, obtaining exemplary training in a company that has never experienced a layoff in its 82-year history may also be a factor worth considering.

Patti Breckenridge
Recruiting Manager

52 Responses

  1. motownvern March 14, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    I’m very interested in this program. I’m not a recent graduate, but I think I’d be a good candidate. I’ve spoken with the manager of a local store and asked to be considered for part-time employment with future management as a goal. I currently have a good job and can’t afford to quit for part-time work. Do I need to apply for this program, or am I following the correct path by speaking with my local manager?

    • Patti Breckenridge
      Patti Breckenridge March 15, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

      You are taking the right approach by speaking with local management. Our internship program will probably always be restricted to those still in school.

      • traviswademiller March 20, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

        I understand that PLM’s (Positions Leading to Management) are open to everyone, whether they have a degree or not. However, what do you mean when you say “Our internship program will probably always be restricted to those still in school.” What ‘internship’ program are you referring to?

        • Patti Breckenridge
          Patti Breckenridge March 21, 2013 at 9:04 am #

          We have a summer internship in our corporate, distribution and manufacturing facilities, primarily in Lakeland. The openings are posted on our website in early February.

      • jabangp November 7, 2014 at 3:07 am #

        i present worked for publix since 8/16/2014. i am interested in this program where do i begin. i am a Bachelors Degree holder in biblical studies major and a business administration minor.

        • Patti Breckenridge
          Patti Breckenridge November 10, 2014 at 9:39 am #

          Please ask a manager in your store to explain the career paths that are available to you.

          Patti

  2. andy March 20, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    Ms. Breckenridge, I have practiced law for sixteen years and have decided to pursue a management career at Publix. I take it from what I have found so far that I should see a store manager for details. I just wanted to confirm that is the preferred approach. Thank you.

    • Patti Breckenridge
      Patti Breckenridge March 20, 2013 at 9:21 am #

      That is correct, Andy.

  3. silvio urbani March 20, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    ok so my first step is to talk to a my manager, but is it restricted for part time employees? and my store manager has to sing me up for that program?

    • silvio urbani March 20, 2013 at 8:42 am #

      sorry forgot to add, Do i have to be in college for that program too?

      • Patti Breckenridge
        Patti Breckenridge March 20, 2013 at 9:23 am #

        You don’t have to be in college to seek positions leading to management or management positions.

    • Patti Breckenridge
      Patti Breckenridge March 20, 2013 at 9:20 am #

      You must be a full-time associate to register your interest for a management position. For the positions LEADING to management (PLM), there are different rules. Some PLMs requires that you be full-time to seek them. Others do not. There are forms and announcements in your break room to explain these differences. If you have questions, please ask your Administrative Coordinator or a manager.

  4. tetrazzini March 20, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    What about someone with a college degree that has been out of the workforce in order to raise her family and is looking to get back to work with a fantastic company? How would one go about persuing a career with Publix?

    • Patti Breckenridge
      Patti Breckenridge March 20, 2013 at 9:17 am #

      I would recommend applying in one of our stores and then speaking with a manager at that store and nearby stores to briefly explain why you would make a valuable associate. What our managers look for most is open availability and a positive, friendly attitude.

  5. brandy1121 March 20, 2013 at 9:19 am #

    i am a current part-time employee and a student in a graduate program how do i find out more about the fast track program

    • Patti Breckenridge
      Patti Breckenridge March 20, 2013 at 9:24 am #

      All information about moving up in our stores is posted in your breakroom. You can also ask your Administrative Coordinator for details or a manager.

  6. zlehoux1
    zlehoux1 March 20, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    Hey Patti,
    I appreciate you taking time to reply to everyone. I have learned a lot from these posts.
    I have decided that I want to be a store manager, so I have been trying to get trained in every department. Do you think jumping from department to department is a bad idea, if i’m trying to move up?
    Thanks!

    • Patti Breckenridge
      Patti Breckenridge March 20, 2013 at 11:14 am #

      In the long run, learning about each department is very valuable. However, if you know you want to become a manager in a certain department, you should gain as much experience as you can in that department. Either way, please talk with your Store Manager or Assistant Store Manager for more detailed advice. And thank you for your dedicated service to Publix!

  7. sswa395155 March 20, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    I am very interested in management position. I worked for Publix about ten years ago as a part time cashier. I was offered to train as a Front End Manager, but at the time I needed to be at home for my young children. I have been trying to get back into Publix for the past four years. What would you suggest? I live in Pasco county,Florida and I am willing to relocate.

    • Patti Breckenridge
      Patti Breckenridge March 21, 2013 at 9:03 am #

      Thank you for your interest in returning to Publix! You would have to take an hourly position and work into a full-time role before you would be eligible for management. Your chances of getting hired are probably as good in your own area as in other areas, so I suggest you apply at the JAC and speak with managers at stores in your area. I’m sure you probably know that availability is the top factor that managers seek. I wish you well!

  8. james70 March 29, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

    Patti,

    I am a college graduate and curious to know if Publix will ever create in their website to apply for positions like Assistant managers or even hourly associates? The reason why I asked is because I was once an associate of twelve years and looking to coming back and moving up. Currently I work for Lowe’s and I know on the Lowe’s site, you can apply for managers positions. I see everyday there is critical need for people in stores but I do not live near a Publix! I see Publix broke ground for North Carolina (Congrats) and would not mind to try for a position there unless there is something pertaining to sales in corporate or manufacturing! :)

    Thank you for your time!

    • Patti Breckenridge
      Patti Breckenridge April 8, 2013 at 9:46 am #

      James: Since you were a Publix associate, perhaps you remember our Registration of Interest process for seeking management positions in the store. You must be a Publix associate to do that. That’s why there is no management application on our website. External candidates cannot apply for management. With regard to Charlotte, we are working right now with Publix associates who want to transfer to our new division. This fall, we will begin accepting applications from external candidates for the remaining positions. I hope this helps you understand our process.

      Patti

  9. sheriqueenbee April 3, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

    I am very interested in learning to be a manger for Publix. I have some experience at Kroger Grocery stores in Texas. I have just graduated with an associates in accounting, and business management. I have put in an application at a nearby store and have spoken with a manager at the store. Any thing else that I need to do.

    • Patti Breckenridge
      Patti Breckenridge April 8, 2013 at 9:47 am #

      You’ve taken all the right steps. If you don’t hear anything within 30 days, please update your application to keep it active. An update only takes 2-3 minutes. Thank you for applying at Publix!

  10. 01085727
    01085727 October 11, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

    Mrs. Breckenridge, hello and thank you accepting my submission! I’m off to an excellent start as a seafood specialist, our department manuals cannot leave the store and we are so busy helping our guests that there is little time to really get into them. Where can I find pdfs or electronic versions of these manuals so that I can commit them to memory? I spoke to my managers about PLMs and asked where to find copies for my own personal use/learning? I am very pleased to work for our company and want to be an asset by my 90 day review, in that I will know more than enough to become a consummate and total employee? thank you!

    • Maura Satchell
      Maura Satchell October 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

      Antwon, your eagerness to learn and work ethic is admirable! Your best bet is to speak with your department manager about opportunities to review the manuals. Thank you for your contribution to Publix!

  11. ellen October 13, 2013 at 7:24 am #

    Hi, Patti.

    I am hoping to be hired at a new Publix that will be opening in my area (Cary, NC) next year. I grew up in Florida and loved shopping at Publix because of the excellent product and customer service. I am particularly interested in the management track positions. However, I have been home raising my children since college 15 years ago and have no recent work experience. I did work In restaurants during college (which I did not finish and have no desire to do so) and quickly moved from serving to running our training program and shift management. I really enjoy management!

    Is there anything I can do now that would make my application more interesting to management when this store opens? It isn’t scheduled to open until the end of 2014 so I have some time. Should I find another grocery store where I can gain some experience?

    Thank you for any advice you can offer.

    • Patti Breckenridge
      Patti Breckenridge October 22, 2013 at 11:11 am #

      Ellen:

      Thank you for reaching out! I apologize that I didn’t respond earlier. I was out on vacation.
      We would welcome your application, but you wouldn’t be eligible for management. We promote from within to fill most management positions.
      We receive thousands of applications when we enter a new market, so gaining additional retail experience would increase your odds of being hired.
      And yes, obtaining grocery experience might be even more valuable.
      I hope this helps! And good luck!

      Patti

  12. devrie October 29, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    Hi, I have a B.A.S in Management and Supervision, and I’ve been looking for work for the past few months. I have a gap in employment from 2009 to now (because of raising a family), but I just finished my second Bachelor’s degree in May 2013. I don’t have a huge swath of employment experience, because I was in the Navy from 1999-2006, and after leaving, worked then started a family.

    I usually only look for jobs in the nonprofit sector or at the state or federal level, because I like the idea of really standing behind the mission of the organization for which I work. Having had a bit of a hard time finding that kind of work, I decided to burst my MOO and apply locally at a Publix, because like many others have stated here, I really like the way Publix does business: hiring from within; focusing on customer experience; selling great quality products; and efficient marketing. In fact, the Executive Director used the customer service model of Publix as an example for our own service.

    With all that said, I realize this post is about fast-tracking to management, is it possible to work up as an associate? When I applied to Publix, I thought that even if I am offered part-time work, I could work on my graduate degree (as I still have G.I. Bill available), but the thought occurred to me that working toward management might be a viable option.

    If I am hired as a cashier, is there a viable path toward working up through the company if that is a primary goal?

    Thanks in advance!

    Sincerely,
    Devrie P.

  13. lehighjose March 29, 2014 at 11:54 am #

    Patti, I have 13 years customer service experience. 7 of those years as a supervisor. I want to work for Publix Support. In what position do you think I can help Publix.

    • Patti Breckenridge
      Patti Breckenridge March 31, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

      Thank you for your interest in sharing your talent with Publix.
      We prize customer service experience for every position at Publix.
      If you would be interested in working in one of our stores, you need to apply at the Job Application Center (there’s one in every store) and speak with a manager afterward to let him or her know why you would make a great Publix associate. Your application will be seen at nearby stores, but you can also stop by those stores to introduce yourself to a manager in each one of them.

      If you want to work in our corporate offices, distribution centers or manufacturing plants, the key is finding openings to determine that match which ones match your experience, education, skill set and preference. You can do that at http://www.publix.jobs/support. You can do similar research on some of the positions we have that do not have current openings. For that, you should go to our Careers section at http://www.publix.jobs and click on the Corporate, Distribution and Manufacturing pages. We list many of the positions in those departments as well as the typical duties and the required qualifications.

      I hope this helps!

      Patti

  14. smort143 May 14, 2014 at 11:08 pm #

    Hello Patti,
    I have been considering relocating to the Raleigh area. I have a lot of Management experience working at Wegmans and would like to work at Publix as it is a Fortune Magazine Top 100 company to work for also. That is very important to me. As I read on you website, on rare occasions people are hired from the outside to fill Management positions. I have also read that people are expected to apply within. Unfortunately we do not have any Publix in our state. In order to relocate, I would need a Management position. Can you give me any suggestions on how I can become a part of your Team? Thank you!! Stacey

    • Patti Breckenridge
      Patti Breckenridge May 15, 2014 at 10:59 am #

      Stascey:

      Thank you for reaching out! Your Wegmans experience is very valuable. Please email Jackie.Moreno@Publix.com. She will be able to tell you whether there is any chance of obtaining a management position.
      So far we have filled all management positions in our new division with promotions, but perhaps as we grow in North Carolina, there will be some opportunities for external candidates.

      Patti

  15. ecred May 20, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

    I recently earned my bachelors in business administration, have always been interested in the grocery store industry, and was looking into getting into a management trainee program other chains offer. After reading your article I am very interested in a career with Publix and am interested in one of the Careers Leading to Management. I live in NY but am willing to relocate to just about anywhere for this opportunity.

    I see the first step is to speak with a manager at a local Publix… What about people like me who don’t live near a Publix, are more interested in the opportunity than the location, and are willing to relocate anywhere for the position (such as where you have the greatest need)?

    • Patti Breckenridge
      Patti Breckenridge May 21, 2014 at 9:54 am #

      Thank you so much for your interest in Publix! We require people to apply in person for several reasons. The first is to ensure that a person is ready to work in no more than two weeks. The second is that we prefer to hire customers. They have shown to be our best associates because they know our culture. The third is because we want applicants to have access to managers immediately if a problem occurs during the application process. For those reasons, you would have to go to a Publix store to apply. We don’t have difficulties filling our hourly positions except for Decorator and Meat Cutter, so you can choose about any market area you want — we have no real area of need. About the only hires we make into Positions Leading to Management are Bakers, Decorators, Meat Cutters and Deli Clerks. Unless you already have experience in the first three, your best option is to start as a Deli Clerk. However, you can’t be considered for management until you are full-time. Most new hires are given part-time positions until they prove themselves. I’m sorry if this feels like an obstacle course, but it’s a system that helps us ensure that someone knows our culture, our values and our practices before they move into management. It has worked extremely well for us. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

      Patti

  16. michaelsciol July 30, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    I’m currently a Deli Clerk at one of our fine stores, and I’m really trying hard to break into management by learning as many skills as I can and by providing excellent customer service. I’ve been with Publix for almost 9 months and my customers absolutely love me. I’m graduating in 2 weeks with my Associates degree and starting my Bachelors in Business with a concentration in Supervision and Management. What are some good pointers for becoming one of the 3,000 new managers you need yearly?

    Is there by any chance a deli related fast track position?

    • Patti Breckenridge
      Patti Breckenridge July 31, 2014 at 9:49 am #

      You are smart to be thinking ahead like this. The best advice will come from managers in your store and from your District Manager. Talk with your Deli managers. Then talk with the Assistant Store Manager or the Store Manager. Then, when the District Manager visits your store, ask him or her. Those are the people who can give you the best advice. I’m excited for you!

      Patti

  17. coppolaanthony93 August 4, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    Patti,

    I have worked for Publix previously (only about 3 months) but then moved to a different state that doesn’t have Publix. I left on good terms and looking to work at Publix again. I previously worked at Winn-Dixie as a Customer Service Team Leader for 4 years. If I applied to a Cashier position what would the average length of time before getting to the Customer Service Staff be?

    • Patti Breckenridge
      Patti Breckenridge August 4, 2014 at 10:02 am #

      This totally depends on your performance and the availability of CSTL openings. One year would probably be the quickest transition possible.

      Patti

  18. ajhansen August 11, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    Hi Patti,

    I am currently attending my first year at a community college to get my associates degree in Business Management. I am extremely interested in becoming a Manager for Publix in the future. I am very impressed by all aspects of the company and I want to make it my career. I am going to work part-time at Publix for the two years I am attending college, and my plan is to get into a Position Leading to Management after I receive my Associates Degree. Am I taking the right steps? Any tips would be very much appreciated. Thanks so much!

    Austin Hansen

    • Patti Breckenridge
      Patti Breckenridge August 11, 2014 at 6:56 pm #

      Austin:

      You have a plan and it sounds like a good one. Make sure you ask your managers for advice as well, particularly those you think are models for what you want to become.

      Patti

  19. austin15g November 17, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

    I am currently enrolled in a four year college and am in my second year looking to seek a degree in Business Management with a minor in Business Analytics. I have already been working for Publix for about a year and a half. Do most people who get a business degree that work for Publix usually move through the ranks quicker than someone who doesn’t? I know I would need to have been full time for at least 6 months before getting into management but do you think having a degree would have me move into management very quickly? I am trying to reach store manager level as quickly as possible. Thanks for any feedback.
    Austin Gregory

    • Patti Breckenridge
      Patti Breckenridge November 18, 2014 at 10:10 am #

      Austin:

      Having a business degree would definitely help you if you want to transfer to our corporate offices at some point.
      It can help in retail, but performance is everything in our stores. Without that, a degree makes no difference.
      I hope this helps.

      Patti

      • austin15g November 19, 2014 at 9:04 am #

        How would someone be able to obtain a job at corporate? What credentials do you guys look for in an applicant who wants a job at corporate? Also, is there only one corporate location, which I assume is in Lakeland? Thanks again.

        • Patti Breckenridge
          Patti Breckenridge November 19, 2014 at 10:21 am #

          Here’s the good news. We are very transparent about what we look for when we are hiring for a corporate position. Each posting specifies the minimum qualifications required for that particular position as well as the preferred qualifications. We usually end up hiring someone who meets both. We have corporate offices in Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami and Charlotte but there are far fewer positions there than in our corporate offices here in Lakeland. I hope this helps.

          Patti

  20. Patti Breckenridge
    Patti Breckenridge April 18, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    Thank you so much!

  21. Patti Breckenridge
    Patti Breckenridge November 12, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    You are most welcome.

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