Central Wyoming College Awarded Wyoming Works Grant for Meat Processing
December 11, 2019 by Lori Ridgway
Governor Gordon’s Wyoming Works initiative awarded Central Wyoming College (CWC) a $777,809 grant to develop a Meat ScienceProgram. The funding also serves Eastern Wyoming College and Sheridan College in a consortium for Meat Science.
The grant will fund an agriculture faculty position at CWC, meat sciences lab equipment for the CWC Rocky Mountain Complex for Ag and Equine Sciences, and a mobile meat sciences lab for CWC and college consortium partners.
Eastern Wyoming College and Sheridan College partnered with CWC to form the meat sciences consortium. The colleges will share the mobile meat sciences lab to enhance student learning in their respective courses through direct, hands-on experience. Since the mobile lab easily transports to various locations, it will increase the overall return on the investment over the life of the equipment. The consortium will utilize the mobile lab for workforce training, and provide any needed livestock and transportation costs.
This Wyoming Works funding will accelerate CWC’s regional economic development strategy for agriculture. We are working to develop and plan the $18.2 million Rocky Mountain Complex for Ag & Equine Sciences, and meat sciences is an important part of the RMC’s vision. We hope to provide the workforce needs for the State’s big visions for Wyoming Beef, not only locally, but across the state with our partners. We’re very excited. ”
Dr. Brad Tyndall, President CWC
Tyndall explained that the local impact will be immediate since a new USDA-inspected meat slaughter and processing facility, Wyoming Genuine Meats, will come online this spring in Riverton, and another local state-inspected facility considers adding USDA inspection.
“Many thousands of people drive through Fremont, Hot Springs and Teton counties wanting to experience local foods and meats. Our Rocky Mountain Complex, planned groundbreaking in 2021, will help meet that agro-tourism need locally and elsewhere by ‘beefing up Main Street’, as I like to say. More and more people contact us to partner in this vision.”
In the short term, CWC will use its mobile lab and partner resources to provide for workforce needs. CWC’s Wyoming Works’ agriculture-related programs will serve, with the benefit of this grant funding, 60 students annually in a two-year program, or 120 students across the four years of this grant period. The consortium will add an additional 76 students annually in a two-year program, or 152 across the four years of this grant period. These students will become the workforce needed for the agriculture business opportunities.
CWC created its animal sciences and meat sciences curricula in consultation with local ag producers and meat processors. Once CWC received approval for the meat sciences curriculum it was then approved as a Wyoming Works program by the Wyoming Community College Commission.
Wyoming Works was approved by the Legislature last legislative session to provide funding for programs and resources for adult students to learn a skill that leads to secure employment. $2 million was approved for scholarships and $2 million for program startup, for which CWC obtained $777,809.