NJMEP Extends its Food Training Program to the MEP National Network
Food and Beverage manufacturers have a brand-new opportunity to upskill their workforce. The New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP) was awarded a grant worth $992,050 by the U.S. Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the money will be used to develop an invaluable national program for U.S. Food and Beverage manufacturers.
Food and Beverage Manufacturers Benefit from New Grant
The grant gives NJMEP the ability to work with the MEP National Network to create a platform to deliver FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) and other core MEP services (cybersecurity, supply chain, etc.) to food manufacturing companies in the USA as well as Puerto Rico.
Food Manufacturing Training and regulation adherence needs to be kept top of mind every day which the MEP network can now support nationally. Food manufacturing is a challenging sector. Products are meant to be consumed by people. Manufacturing errors can lead to serious health issues or possibly death. Having a safe and compliant facility, supply chain and processes are vital. NJMEP is recognized as an MEP ‘Center of Excellence’ in Food Safety Training but was only able to share its services within the state of New Jersey. With the new grant and this national initiative, this expertise can now be shared with businesses throughout the United States.
NJMEP will be working with the MEP National Network, building regional hubs in five areas in which MEP Center leaders have expressed interest and coordinate growth in food manufacturing products/services. A set of minimum technical and operational specifications are being developed for these MEP Centers to earn recognition as a Quality Safe Efficient (QSE) Food Industry Network Hub. This initiative will bring together national food manufacturers and their supply chains to deliver necessary training and connect businesses with the services they need to maintain adherence to government rules and regulations, as well as continuously improving organization.
Nation-Wide Support for Food and Beverage Manufacturers
Training includes an online curriculum (five different course offerings) created by NJMEP and offered through the County College of Morris (CCM).
The goal is to improve the competitiveness of industries in regions served by MEP Centers. “It addresses the FSMA compliance needs of food manufacturers,” says Robert Salamone, Director of Vertical Engagements, NJMEP.
John W. Kennedy, CEO of NJMEP expressed how he feels about this massive initiative, “We are excited to expand our work nationally with other MEP Centers and appreciate that NIST MEP has seen the great importance of food training on a national scale,”. He continues, “Our training addresses manufacturing priorities through the creation and use of tools and resources that provide food manufacturing leaders with a clear roadmap and actions,”.
Apprenticeship Opportunities for New Jersey Food and Beverage Manufacturers
On top of this effort to create and offer online food training programs to manufacturers at a national level, NJMEP will be able to scale the newly USDOL approved Food Production Safety Technician through the Pro-Action Education Network™. There are more than 1,100 food manufacturers throughout New Jersey that will be able to take advantage of this comprehensive program. The Food Production Safety Technician apprenticeship program is focused on food manufacturing, process standards, quality control, and food production compliance. Find out more about the Pro-Action Education Network™ or contact Patricia Moran and get started upskilling your workforce today.
The new grant awarded to NJMEP will go a long way in bolstering the competitiveness of food and beverage manufacturers throughout the US and Puerto Rico. It’s helping expand new online training programs as well as allowing NJMEP to develop and scale the newly USDOL approved Food Production Safety Technician apprenticeship program. Food and beverage manufacturers must have access to the right tools, resources, and on-going support to keep their businesses moving forward. NJMEP and its partners are already providing these materials and support for business in New Jersey however now it will be available nationally.