Career Tech State Director Marcie Mack Announces Updated Meat Processing CurriculumTue, 23 Jun 2020 15:24:49 CDT
When COVID-19 infections sent workers home from the major meat processing plants, consumers quickly saw the impact in the empty meat counters. In response to this event, Career Tech across Oklahoma is offering updated meat processing courses online.
Dr. Marcie Mack, state director of Career Tech, announced the new courses this week and talked with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays.
Industry officials were concerned with the supply of meat and finding the resources they were looking for, Mack said. Oklahoma Agriculture Secretary Blayne Arthur reached out to us and asked what we are doing to train individuals to work in the meat processing industry, Mack said.
We met with an industry panel of individuals who operate their own facility and we asked what they look for in a qualified work force, Mack said. They outlined some specific criteria and industry credentials they find valuable.
The Career Tech Director said they could start meeting industry needs by offering courses online.
The initial phase will be online to help students get their foot in the door, Mack said., eventually moving to in person classes for such things as carcass harvesting.
Mack said they are offering three certifications in the background knowledge of the importance of food safety, workforce safety and safety of the product they are producing.
That’s the primary criteria in all three of the levels we currently have, Mack said.
Some elements were already in place for the meat processing program offered at Western Tech in Burns Flat.
Mack noted industry needs moved away from what that program offered, and Career Tech had not used that program in a while.
It’s now time to revaluate that program, Mack said.
We are now able to validate the current certification and make sure it is in alignment with the American Meat Association and make sure we’re on target with what the industry needs, Mack said.
In addition, the Oklahoma task force looking at the need for more meat processing in the state has mentioned the need for more meat inspectors.
Mack said Career Tech can help with that training too.
We can add that to the curriculum as one of the certifications is specific about identifying and labeling, Mack said.
She said they can ramp up quickly if necessary and suggested prospective students can check it on the Career Tech website to see what is being offered now.
Click here for the Career Tech website.
Currently offered at Career Tech is the Meat Processing Workforce Education Program. Course titles include:
• AMSA Food Safety & Science Certification
• AMSA Meat Evaluation Certification
• AMSA Culinary Meat Selection and Cookery Certification
You can hear more of Ron’s interview with Dr. Mack by clicking on the listen bar below.
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