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It’s the first such program in the SUNY system and a pertinent one to western New York.

Genesee Community College is pulling out all the stops tomorrow in an information session about its new Food Processing degree.

Officials say prospective students shouldn’t just image a career with hairnets and production lines.

“This particular course gets people ready to get into those jobs that are available here,” Associate Director of Marketing Communications Donna Rae Sutherland said. “We’re learning a lot from the manufacturers that are here in our region and they are looking for skilled workers. This isn’t quite the job of the 1950s or 60s where you were working at an assembly line. These are skilled workers with long-term career growth.”

With companies like Alpina, Muller-Quaker and Bonduelle moving their food processing operations into Genesee County, Sutherland says there is a demand for a knowledgeable work force.

"A lot of people don’t realize that there’s more than 600 food processing companies in our end of New York State – central and western New York – and there are lots of really good jobs with those food processing companies,” Sutherland said. “In fact, the average starting salary in New York State for a food processing technology position is $42,500. That’s good money.”

At all of its campuses tomorrow, the Food Processing Technology Information Day runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

It’s a two-year degree, but there’s a scholarship for just taking the intro class.

“The first class starts Sept. 23, so it’s a later-start, 12-week class at the Batavia campus,” she said. “The $500 scholarship will cover the tuition for the Intro to Food Processing Technology course.”

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