Applications have opened for the annual Produce Industry Leadership Program offered by the United Fresh Foundation’s Center for Leadership Excellence.

The deadline to apply for the 18th annual class is March 2, according to a news release. Information and applications are available at www.unitedfresh.org/programs. It’s for United Fresh members only.

Participation is limited to 12 industry members chosen by a committee chaired by United Fresh board member Emily Fragoso, director of business development at South Pasadena, Calif.-based Status Gro.

Participants, known as fellows, are chosen from a cross-section of industry applicants to represent top future leaders among United Fresh Produce Association membership.

There is no cost to participate and the program covers all regular expenses, according to the release.

Since the program began in 1995, more than 200 have participated. Its goals focus on leadership development, business relationships, government and public affairs, and media and public relations.

The year-long program includes trips for meetings and training with industry leaders and educators. This year’s schedule includes trips to central California; Washington, D.C.; Wilmington, Del.; and south Florida.

The class is expected to graduate at the 2013 United Fresh Convention.

To learn more contact Shannon Young, United Fresh education manager, at syoung@unitedfresh.org or 202-303-3405.