American Cheese Society – Fostering Professional Development and Advancement

The American Cheese Society earned a 2017 ASAE Power of A Gold Award for its ACS Certified Cheese Professional® Exam, created to foster the education, skills, professionalism, and knowledge of individuals working across all domains of the artisan cheese industry.

ASAE honored ACS for its efforts to develop industry-wide standards and best practices that encourage professional development and career advancement opportunities for industry professionals. The need for professional development has increased as the U.S. artisan and specialty cheese industry has grown dramatically since ACS was founded in 1983. Additionally, ACS membership has doubled in the last decade, and the exam’s impact and reach have been significant.

The Certified Cheese Professional® Exam evaluates the knowledge and skills required to perform specific job activities related to working with cheese, from the time it leaves the creamery to the time it reaches the consumer. Questions encompass a broad range of topics including raw ingredients, the cheesemaking process, storing and handling cheese, selecting distributors, marketing and communicating about cheese, nutrition, regulations, and sanitation.

APICS – Shining Light on STEM-based Careers

APICS earned a 2017 ASAE Power of A Gold Award for its Supply Chain STEM Educational Outreach program, created to proactively address the shortage of students, especially among women and people of color, choosing STEM-based careers; a worldwide supply chain talent crisis; and the fact that supply chain management lacks visibility as a lucrative and critically-needed career path.

ASAE honored APICS’ program which uses everyday themes such as lemonade, paper airplanes, and cell phones to bring STEM and supply chain to life in way that is meaningful and relevant to students. By participating in Supply Chain STEM, the student’s worldview of how products are created and delivered is enhanced.

This one-time first grade science activity quickly grew into a global K-20 outreach program, inspiring 16,000 students to consider supply chain management and STEM-based careers. A small group of passionate volunteers from Intel, Michigan State University, Arizona State University, and MIT created and piloted several hands-on activities in Phoenix area schools. Through employee and student volunteerism, the program flourished in Arizona, expanded to five US states (Michigan, Oregon, New Mexico, California, New York), and grew internationally (Ireland, Malaysia, Vietnam, China).

National Association for Healthcare Quality – Preparing the Profession for the Future

The National Association for Healthcare Quality earned a 2017 ASAE Power of A Gold Award for its HQ Essentials: Competencies for the Healthcare Quality Profession program, which ensures healthcare quality professionals are well prepared to serve and lead in the quality roles of today and tomorrow.

ASAE honored NAHQ’s program, which is a framework for ongoing individual and organizational assessment and development across the continuum of care at advanced and master practitioner levels.

The program includes six critical competency areas: Performance and Process Improvement, Population Health and Care Transitions, Health Data Analytics, Patient Safety, Regulatory and Accreditation, and Quality Review and Accountability. Educational resources, including career profiles and webinars, have been developed for each area. NAHQ will supplement these resources with more educational content and refresh existing resources with new and relevant information important to healthcare quality professionals and healthcare organizations.

National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions – Ensuring Highly-Skilled Officers

The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions has earned a 2017 ASAE Power of A Gold Award for its NAFCU Certified Compliance Officer (NCCO) program, created to satisfy a need for skilled certified compliance officers who have absorbed critical material to help them advance, as well as help credit unions demonstrate the expertise of their staff.

ASAE honored NAFCU’s program for certification which must be maintained by earning credits for ongoing training to ensure every NCCO grows and develops professionally over time. Since its inception, the program has certified over 1,500 credit union compliance professionals, and many credit unions require the certification for positions held within the credit union.

The NAFCU certification program requires candidates to take and pass four separate exams, and it is not uncommon for someone to not pass an exam the first time around. The rigorous process truly tests the foundational knowledge needed in a critical role for the industry.

Association Spotlight, brought to you by ASAE and The Power of A, was created to showcase how associations create a better America and world.  If you would like to have your organization’s efforts featured in a future Association Spotlight, please email Mary Kate Cunningham at  The next Power of A Awards entry period begins January 2018.