LAS VEGAS — As today’s baking leaders begin to retire, investing in the next generation of bakers and food scientists becomes critical to the continued growth of the industry.

The Young Professionals Committee of the American Society of Bakers (A.S.B.) offers networking and educational opportunities for A.S.B. members who are 40 years old or younger. At an A.S.B. meeting Oct. 5 at I.B.I.E., the committee outlined a program intended to appeal to individuals new to the baking industry and A.S.B.

“The key for me in this work is getting involved with the youth in our field,” said Dave Hipenbecker, chairman of the A.S.B. “It is so important to the overall health of the baking industry and this organization. What the Young Professionals are doing is starting such promotion from the ground up.”

Young professionals look to the older generation for their invaluable experience.

“Not everything can be taught in a classroom, meeting, presentation or lecture,” said Brittny Stephenson, Y.P.C. Committee member.  “The disadvantage of being young is simply lack of experience.”

Experienced bakers can give up-and-coming colleagues a leg up by providing them more opportunities to learn.

“If you can provide young bakers with the opportunity to work in an environment that is challenging but allows them to test boundaries without fear, they can develop into the leaders of the future,” she said.

With its plethora of educational sessions and exhibitors, the program offers young professionals an excellent opportunity for growth. From the education program, attendees just starting out can benefit from the A.I.B. technical seminars and the many experts in formulation and business management. By identifying key suppliers to their careers, young professionals can meet them face-to-face on the show floor and make inroads in this tight-knit industry.

“Networking is so critical in this industry and even more so for a young professional,” Ms. Stephenson said.