CWC offers new program
Central Wyoming College (CWC) is offering coursework this fall focusing on training a new generation of butchers in meat processing and marketing. The coursework will offer hands-on learning to prepare students for future careers in the meat industry.
“This course started as an idea to help local processing plants train new employees,” says Meat Science Program Director Amanda Winchester. “The industry desperately needs employees – it is one of the biggest issues within the meat processing industry.”
Students will learn how to offer personal service to customers and livestock producers through the program. CWC puts emphasis on internships and professional development by utilizing co-op work experience in the community.
Two different avenues of study are available through the program. Students have the option to get an associate of science degree which stands alone or prepares them for transfer to a four-year institution.
“Through this route, students can move on to own their own processing plant, manage a large industrial packing plant, become a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) meat inspector or go into research within the food industry,” Winchester says.
Students also have the option to earn a meat processing certificate through a semester-long program focused on producing well-educated employees.
“Students in this program learn everything from working with the producer, paperwork and understanding USDA requirements to learn all aspects of the meat industry from harvesting, fabricating and knowing meat cut and quality – all of the aspects of being a well-educated employee,” Winchester says.
The program offers a unique hands-on learning experience. The majority of class time will be spent in the lab with real-life scenarios.
“Students have a little bit of classroom time, but the majority – about 75 percent of the time – is spent in the lab,” Winchester says. “They develop the muscle memory to be able to go into the industry and know what they’re doing beyond the textbook. That’s what makes this program unique.”
“It’s a very hands-on program, where most other programs in the U.S. are online courses,” she adds. “Students need to have the muscle memory for going out into the workforce.”
Winchester notes the program provides benefits for local producers.
“We will keep the animals local and provide food for our local community through the program,” she says. “By working with local producers, we can know where our food comes from. CWC’s Meat Science program works with local producers to help them keep more money in their pockets and provide a great product for our local community.”
Winchester says CWC will run the Rustler Cattle Company meat lab all year long.
“We are offering local producers more opportunities to get their livestock processed,” she says.
CWC staff are looking forward to offering this unique training opportunity for students interested in meat science.
“I am really excited about this program. I really feel it’s needed for the industry,” Winchester says. “I have processors all over the nation calling asking me if I have students ready to come work for them, so I really feel this is a great tool for the industry. I am excited and passionate about this program.”
Classes begin Aug. 22, and there is limited space available for students. Winchester is anticipating five to seven students will enroll in the program this fall.
For more information, contact Winchester at firstname.lastname@example.org or 307-855-2258.
Kaitlyn Root is an editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to email@example.com.