Meat+Poultry - April 2021 - 66

TRAINING

Karla Nunez graduated
from the FIT program
in late March. She
was hired by Poly-clip
System as a service
technician soon after.

preventative maintenance to ensure longevity
and performance.
This includes working with equipment
that is becoming more complex in the use
of sensors, feedback loops, motors, advance
control systems and both AC and DC circuits,
creating an ongoing need for individuals with
more knowledge of PLC training, variable
frequency drives, variable speed drives and
ladder logic, Williams said. Technicians must
also be highly trained in Food and Drug
Administration regulations to prevent product
contamination that could lead to illness and
potential legal action.
" By partnering with industry to identify the
skills hiring managers need in their new hires,
we ensure our programs are relevant to those
needs and will lead to positive outcomes - new
careers - for our graduates, " English said. " The
millions of open positions around the country
call for unique, complex skill sets and those
are the skills we help students build through
our hands-on training program. "
The more advanced the equipment becomes,
the more electrically inclined the technician
needs to be, McCarroll said. Mechanical,
hydraulic and pneumatic skills are also
important, but electrical leads the field, he said.
" Mechanical skills, the use of hand tools
and the ability to troubleshoot will always be in
great need as we find there are fewer persons
who currently possess those skill sets, "
Williams said. " The FIT program addresses
this need by working on actual equipment
that's found in food processing facilities across
the country. "

SOLID HISTORY
Established in 1946, Lincoln Tech, an
educational provider of skilled trade and

66

MEAT+ POULTRY | 04.21 | www.meatpoultry.com

automotive programs, has locations on
multiple campuses in 14 states. Lincoln Tech
offers a long history of training nontraditional
students, including those changing careers,
hands-on learners and veterans.
The educational entity is also known for
the longevity of its classroom and lab training
programs, consistency of educational programs
nationally, quality and strength of technical
expertise and its exceptionally well-qualified
instructors and administrations at multiple
campuses, Williams shared.
" The FIT program attracts candidates who
want to work with their hands, " he continued.
" The individuals we recruit into the program
are looking for career opportunities with a
growing 'recession-proof industry' where they
can employ the skill sets that they learned from
the FIT program. "
FPSA member contributions include
providing in-house technician training
sessions, trips to facilities (processing plants
and equipment manufacturing plants), and
equipment donations. In some cases, original
equipment manufacturers and processors
provide FIT students with in-person classroom
visits designed to foster enthusiasm for job
opportunities along with discussions on
real-world needs that tie FIT education to the
job. Lincoln Tech has even created custom
content and curriculum specific to a partner's
unique requirements and delivery methods,
English said.

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENTS
Since the testing of the first pilot program
at Lincoln Tech, there have been numerous
improvements and expansions to the FIT
program. A continuous quality improvement
model is employed after each class to evaluate,
enact and ensure the program continues to meet
the needs of its customers. This includes the
flexibility for its Academic Specialists to adjust
program specifications and curriculum based
on shifting industry trends and technological
advancements, according to English.
Although the FIT program requires 100%
in-class training, during the pandemic core
classes shifted to partially online environments
when campuses were closed because of state
and federal regulations. With reopening of the
campuses, adjustments were made in terms
of class size, use of face coverings, health


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