Batavia, New York — Food manufacturing companies scattered across upstate New York are ‘hungry’ for a skilled workforce, and Genesee Community College’s Food Processing Technology (FPT) program provides the perfect pathway for secure, well-paid careers in the food industry. Food manufacturing and processing is a thriving industry in Upstate New York with more than 650 food processing operations in the region. New York State Labor Department indicates abundant dairy, strong infrastructure and close proximity to population centers in the northeast are all attributes that attract companies.
“A quick scan of job openings in the want ads reveals many regional food manufacturers are looking for good employees,” said professor Maureen Leupold, GCC’s director of Science. “Companies like Kraft and Barilla Pasta in Avon, and O-AT-KA Milk Products in Batavia all need skilled workers.”
GCC’s new program helps prepare students for positions such as quality control technician, packaging specialist, utilities operator, lab clerk, operations manager and regulatory or food control supervisor. To accommodate adult, non-traditional students, the first introductory class, Food Processing Technology (FPT101), starts on Tuesday, September 23 with the 12-week session. It runs from 3:30 – 7 p.m. at the Batavia Campus.
“We know people are busy,” Leupold said. “We are doing everything possible to make the program accessible and doable-particularly for adult students who often juggle many other responsibilities. Our FPT scholarship is another way GCC is giving students of all ages every opportunity to explore and enter the food processing industry.”
Students who register and complete FPT 101 (Introduction to Food Processing Technology) are eligible to receive a $500 scholarship to cover the cost of the 3-credit course. The scholarship is open to all students and there are no pre-requisites to enroll in FPT 101. Those interested are asked to submit the Academic Program Scholarship Worksheet as soon as possible, but no later than the August 4, 2014 deadline.
The Food Processing Technology coursework covers specific training in food safety, sanitation and hazard analysis; food and dairy processing operations; analytical methods and food labeling. Graduates will understand basic principles of food science including the chemical, physical and microbiological properties of food, as well as the technology used to create an abundant supply of safe, nutritious and delicious food. The 63-credit curriculum also includes general education requirements, much of which can be taken online. In total, the program can typically be completed in two years.
In addition to classroom lectures and science lab experiments, students in the program will complete an internship at a Food Processing operation as part of the program. “This also enhances opportunities for job placement,” Leupold said. The Genesee County Economic Development Corporation indicates that trained workers are paid significantly higher than those who don’t have advanced skills, with annual salaries ranging from $30,000-$60,000.
Those interested in enrolling in the new Food Processing Technology AAS program can find more information online at http://www.genesee.edu/academics/programs/tech/Food. Additionally, Thursday, July 17 is Food Processing Info Day at all seven GCC campus locations. The Albion, Arcade, Batavia (main campus), Dansville, Lima, Medina and Warsaw campuses will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., ready to get students enrolled in the program and answer any questions.
For more information, contact Professor Leupold, director of Science at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6394, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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