An interview with Deanna Zenger, Project Manager, Succeeding at Work

An interview with Deanna Zenger, Project Manager, Succeeding at Work

An interview with Deanna Zenger, Project Manager, Succeeding at Work

An interview with Deanna Zenger, Project Manager, Succeeding at Work

What is Succeeding at Work?

A premier program of Food Processing Skills Canada designed to support Canadian food and beverage manufacturing employers build skilled and motivated employee teams, and help job seekers achieve their professional goals. We recently launched a new employer focused stream that is fully- funded. This stream is supporting businesses in educating and upskilling new hires and existing workers, with no loss in production time. If you are an employer suffering from the revolving door syndrome, this program is for you.

What makes Succeeding at Work so different from other programs for workers in the food and beverage industry?

One of the main reasons SAW is different is due to what’s behind the program. The government has been incredibly supportive and flexible with this program. The goal of the Succeeding at Work was to attract non-traditional sources for labour. Individuals who have faced barriers to employment and for the first time, fully half of a program addresses those barriers through workplace essential skills and social-emotional learning.


SAW is different because we are focusing on teaching the individual how to learn. How to take transferable skills they may already possess, add education in food safety, focus on what they can accomplish and provide recognition on their accomplishment. Employers need candidates who are nimble, who can adapt and feel confident in their skills. Education does that. Training is the HOW, and education is the WHY. Education, or the WHY, stays long after ‘how’ has changed.

By 2030, it is projected that all new workforce growth will come from immigration. We can talk about cultural diversity and awareness, but what does that mean practically? The SAW curriculum addresses the elephant in the room. Through dispelling myths and learning about why we as individuals react the way we do, we achieve greater understanding in the workplace and culture is improved.

Whether it is the Job Seeker or Employer Stream, this is the first time social-emotional learning has been a significant component of any training program. FPSC hired DPM Research as project evaluators, and because of the evaluation component, we know we will have solutions for the industry to use today and guide us into what we need for tomorrow.

Why evaluate participants after they are already on the job?

To validate our choices and determine what we may have missed.

FPSC is nationally recognized in that we provide the industry with facts and data. By adding the evaluation component, we are not guessing or offering an opinion. We collect data from individuals participating and from courses and assessments taken.  We evaluate how the programming affected job performance, both technically and from their perspective. Employers also participate in evaluations so that we can manage expectations and outcomes.

What would you say to employers who are on the fence about utilizing this program?

Succeeding at Work was developed based on what industry told us they needed and wanted.

With the Job Seeker stream, we are creating a sustainable pool of job-ready candidates that are ready to hire. Candidates who understand they will begin their employment in foundation level roles, but who want to demonstrate to employers their enthusiasm and desire to succeed.

Are there limitations on how many program participants an organization can have at one time for placements?

The industry is welcome to hire as many candidates as they need.

What are the newest changes to the program?

The Employer Stream is the newest change to the SAW program, which assists businesses in reskilling and upskilling new hires, recent hires and existing employees. With specialized training based on business needs and a customized learning institute for employees, training is online and on the employer’s schedule—no downtime, no loss in production and at no cost. Employees will have access to online courses and earn nationally recognized certificates while they continue their employment. Employers I have spoken with do not know how or where to start. This program does it all for them.

Comments we have received from our Employer Stream test group are very positive. Workers feel more confident in their roles, they understand the positions of those around them, and they are very proud and appreciative of the opportunity to learn.


Education professionalizes our industry, and we are fully supporting employers and job seekers for the most critical sector in Canada. The food industry.


Why were these changes made?

We heard from employers that while creating an educated pool of candidates to hire is needed, it left behind those already employed. We understand most workers have not had the opportunity, time or resources to receive the education they feel would make them more productive in their workplace. We do not address the need to reskill and upskill an entire industry by only focusing on new hires. Everyone must be on the same page as knowledge-wise. That is what makes food safe, makes jobs more enjoyable, and business more efficient and profitable. Succeeding at Work seeks to fill those gaps and address our industry needs.




How long does the registration process for SAW take?

Job Seeker Stream – 5 minutes! If you require new workers, complete a very short application and we will forward your information to our local coordinators and stay in touch throughout.

Employer Stream – Same quick application and I will be in touch with you directly.

What benefit do you see employers receiving from SAW?

Pool of job ready, well educated candidates to choose from in the Job Seeker Stream.

Employer Stream Benefits? What does providing education in the workplace bring?


  • Competitive edge in hiring
  • Employee retention
  • Increased adaptability
  • Literacy gains
  • Less absenteeism
  • Fewer accidents
  • Improved audit performance
  • Workplace satisfaction – workplace culture improvements



SAW allows industry employers the opportunity to develop a well-educated, resilient workforce poised for the future.

Questions about the SAW program? Visit or reach out to Deanna at