The U.S. Pork Center of Excellence has been granted nearly $300,000 to implement the Professional Swine Manager/Technician Certification Program for community college students and pork production workers. The program is designed to meet the industry need for consistent, research-based instruction on all phases of pork production.
The grant, provided by the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, will run from Jan. 1, 2010 to Dec. 31, 2011, and will cover the implementation phase of the current project funded in conjunction with National Pork Board.
“This new grant fits well with our mission in terms of training and education,” says David Meisinger, USPCE executive director. “It complements the work of the Swine Science Online project, which involves four-year institutions, by allowing us to focus on two-year institutions and a certification program for all workers.”
Participants in the program may receive two types of certification: certified technician in breeding, farrowing, and/or grow-finishing, and certified swine manager. Courses will be broadcast in real-time to several sites throughout the country. Certification is obtained by successfully completing an on-line, proctored test. Certification and training records will be recorded by USPCE and NPB in a database accessible to employers.
The U.S. Pork Center of Excellence was established in 2005 as a public/private partnership to bring together academic expertise in research, teaching and extension related to pork production. The center is housed at the National Swine Research and Information Center on the Iowa State University campus. USPCE partners include two governmental agencies, the national pork industry associations, 17 state pork producer associations and 24 land-grant universities.