At a press conference at Process Expo on Wednesday, October 9, the Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA) announced the launch of the Food Industry Technician (FIT) certification program in association with Lincoln Technical Institute. The program will offer standardized training to provide future industry technicians with the skill sets necessary for working with the equipment used in the food industry.
FPSA serves suppliers to the global food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. The association is the voice of its members in the public arena on issues such as food safety, sanitary design of equipment and global trade.
The first two participants accepted into the program are Jacob Overton, 24, and Nikolas Scott, 21, both of whom were attending Lincoln Tech in Indianapolis when Keston Edwards, account manager for the FIT program at Lincoln Tech, spoke to their class.
Job security and many job options in the field are among the appeal the FIT program has for these future technicians. Scott’s dad has worked for Taylor Distributors for years, so he already had exposure to the equipment side of the food industry, he says. “You are basically assured a good job in the field with this program,” Scott told Food Engineering before the press conference. Overton adds, “I like the hands-on work. I excel at it, and I am entertained by it every day.”
“We are attending this show to get the word out about the program,” says Peter Tahinos, senior vice president of marketing at Lincoln Tech. “Classes are slated to begin November 4 at the Indianapolis campus.”
Students from the Melrose Park, Ill., and Indianapolis Lincoln Tech campuses were in attendance, and learned that, “The FIT program is the closest thing to an apprenticeship program,” according to David Seckman, president and CEO of FPSA. Jarrod McCarroll, chairman of FSPA and president of Weber Inc., adds, “There’s not a shortage of jobs out there. There’s a shortage of talent.” And Scott Shaw, CEO and president of Lincoln Tech, says a program like this one will definitely help fill the skills gap.
According to a press release, Lincoln Tech was selected as the educational partner for the FIT program because of the longevity of their classroom and lab training programs, consistency of educational programs nationally, the quality and strength of their technical expertise, and the well-qualified instructors and administrators at their multiple campuses (22 campuses in 14 states). For more, visit www.lincolntech.edu.