Northcentral Technical College has recently received funding from Gov. Tony Evers to address the future of meat processing in Wisconsin, NTC announced this week. The college will receive $220,000 to help solve food supply chain challenges through short-term training aimed to rapidly build the workforce in central Wisconsin.
In January, the governor announced up to $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to develop the meat talent development program.
Funding will go toward a mobile learning lab that will allow NTC to train students throughout northcentral Wisconsin. The training will provide farm-to-table practices that will connect learners from NTC’s Agriculture Center of Excellence to the Culinary Arts Associate Degree. It also gives students the opportunity to develop the skills they need to take sustainable meat processing practices back to their communities and help keep food local to address the food supply chain issue.
According to EMSI Labor Market Analytics & Economic Data, northcentral Wisconsin has twice as many jobs in the meat processing industry than the national average and that number is projected to increase 21 percent over the next 10 years. The industry will also experience high retirement rates because 27 percent of those employed are 55 and older.
“Wisconsin’s livestock and meat processing industries are vital to the economic success of our state and provide consumers with access to high-quality meat products,” said DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski in a news release. “Governor Evers recognizes the importance of investing in the future of this industry and the workforce that makes that industry so strong. We are excited to be working with universities and technical colleges like NTC to provide more educational opportunities for those interested in working in Wisconsin’s meat industry.”