Consumer foods giantsGeneral Mills Inc ., Minneapolis, andNestle USA, Glendale, Calif., are among the top 50 "Best Places to Launch a Career," according to BusinessWeek, which last month published an issue on the topic.

BusinessWeek said it polled 60 college career services directors nationwide; used Philadelphia researcher Universum USA to survey 60,000 U.S. undergrads; and it required employers to submit statistics on everything from pay and benefits to training programs and retention.

General Mills and Nestle finished 12th and 25th respectively in voting and were among two of only three consumer goods companies (including Phillip Morris) to make the top 50.

Interestingly enough,BusinessWeek'saccompanying feature story included Justin Welke, an operations management trainee at Nestle's Springville, Utah plant, an operation that produces Stouffer's and Stouffer's Lean Cuisine frozen entrees. A Michigan State University graduate, Welke was cited for his front-line leadership experience and cost-cutting initiatives.

In the company's own release, Judy Cascapera, senior vice president of human resources, said, "Nestle USA offers developmental programs to recent undergrads that accelerate leadership opportunities. Recent graduates like Justin Welke are given real positions with increasing levels of responsibility as a trainee."

Nestle said it offers development programs in operations, sales, logistics, finance, procurement and product Applications. The company also offers a brand management summer internship program for MBA students. Programs are focused on the long-term, and interns and trainees receive mentors, buddies and managers across all levels in the organization, giving them quick and ready access to gain critical insights into skills, development and obtaining feedback.