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GCC's newly approved Food Processing degree program begins this fall, enrollment now open

Press release:

Responding to the need for skilled food processing workers in Western New York, Genesee Community College will begin offering a new degree program in Food Processing Technology in Fall 2014. The College recently received final approval for the Associate in Applied Science Degree program from the State Education Department.

Food Processing is a fast-growing industry in Western New York where the state Labor Department says companies find abundant dairy, strong infrastructure and close proximity to population centers in the Northeast. There are more than 650 food processing operations in the region and new jobs are being added yearly. The industry has a need for trained workers and this program will respond to that need.

GCC has developed a two-year, 63-credit curriculum that includes general education coursework as well as specific training in food safety, sanitation and hazard analysis; food and dairy processing operations; analytical methods and food labeling. Graduates of the program 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.

"We worked with food processing companies and other educational institutions, including Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension, to develop this program," said Rafael Alicea-Maldonado, Ph.D, dean of Math, Science and Career Education. "They told us what they need and this program will provide them with the trained workers they are seeking. For graduates, that means excellent prospects for well-paying jobs upon completion of the degree."

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," Maldonado said.

The Genesee County Economic Development Center indicates that trained workers are paid significantly higher than those who don't have advanced skills, with annual salaries ranging from $30,000 to $60,000.

Those interested in enrolling in the new Food Processing Technology AAS Degree program can find more information online at http://www.genesee.edu/academics/programs/tech/Food.

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