In a recent press release, Oregon State University Extension Service announced they received a three-year, $650,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The grant will be used for OSU Extension's Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network (NMPAN) to build a multi-state program to solve workforce problems in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. Issues to be addressed include meat-cutting training in colleges and universities, entry-level employee retention, and additional training to support a sustainable workforce.

Rebecca Thistlethwaite, Extension outreach specialist and director of NMPAN, said:

"We want to design a program that gives workers the skills to get hired, advance in the workforce, obtain living wages and be ready to launch their own businesses. Oregon has hundreds of small-scale plants, a lot of mom-and-pop operations. They find it hard to find employees or people to take over the business. Add to that there’s no meat cutting program in the state and there’s a problem.”

Thistlewaite will begin with a survey to determine the needs and challenges facing employers and employees in the meat processing industry, including employee compensation for additional training. That data will then be used in partnership with Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton and the Northwest Meat Processors Association to design effective training programs.



For full details, please consult the Oregon State University Extension's website.


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