College of the Sequoias Food Safety Training
4999 E. Bardsley Ave.
Tulare, CA 93274
United States of America
About College of the Sequoias Food Safety Training
By working closely with employers, the College of the Sequoias Training Resource Center strives to provide local and regional businesses with industry-relevant, customized training and education that enhances employees’ skills and develops a competitive and productive workforce. Their mission is to advance the economic growth and global competitiveness of business and industry in their region.
In 2016-17, over 100 employers benefited from 54 customized training sessions offered by the COS Training Resource Center (TRC) at worksites throughout the region to develop food safety skills, critical skills, improve communication, boost productivity and enhance supervision as well as provide industry specific training such as food safety. With over 1,000 training hours delivered this year, over 1,000 participants gave the trainings a high rating of 4.63 out of 5 on evaluations.
Food Safety Training
To enable businesses to meet the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the TRC offers courses such as Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), Produce Safety Rule Grower training, Preventive Controls for Human Foods (PCQI) and Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP).
Director Jorge Zegarra states: “We knew the FSMA legislation was going to have a significant impact on every aspect of the industry; therefore, about a year and a half ago, we began extensive research on the FSMA rules and to understand how they would affect each segment of the supply chain. Once we completed our research, we then began to invest in training programs we could deliver to our growers, food processors, and food manufacturers. We started our food safety program in 2015 by offering a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) class, which is designed to make workers knowledgeable about food safety principles for the workplace.
Specialist Laurel Garver states: “In response to the FSMA rules, we have delivered Preventive Controls for Human Foods classes, which provides certification as a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI). This person plays an important role; he or she is responsible for developing and revamping the safety plans that determine how the business will identify and prevent hazards related to food safety. We began to offer this 20-hour class in 2016. Additionally, we’ve held a Produce Safety Train-the-Trainer class in support of FSMA Produce Safety Regulations. In a class held last April, we had approximately 40 people from several national and international organizations attend that class who were looking to become certified to teach the Produce Safety Grower class. We have also offered Produce Safety Grower trainings”.
In 2017, the college obtained Employment Training Panel (ETP) funding to help local employers offset their training investment and maintain a skilled workplace. Since employers already pay the Employment Training Tax that supports ETP, they are encouraged to take advantage of this training benefit. Funding is based on the number of trainees who successfully complete the training and are retained in well-paying jobs. COS can now make funding available directly to companies to train their employees at a reduced cost or no cost.
According to Bruce Nicotero, General Manager, JoAnn Fabric & Craft Stores, the TRC addresses what the company needs most from new and existing employees at the West Coast Distribution Center. "My managers felt it was a good morale builder. As a result of the training, we are seeing increased teamwork and openness to listen to one another on the job. The Front Line Supervisor training participants were able to experience real life scenarios and it helped their confidence in dealing with day-to-day operational and personnel issues."
Jorge Zegarra states: “It is our mission to continue be responsive to the workplace education and training needs of regional employers. Our contract education unit, like most, is agile, and can quickly design and deliver the programs needed by local industry.”
Soft Skills Developed
The college collaborated with the Visalia Economic Development Corporation, Tulare County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and City of Visalia to survey businesses to uncover common needs. As a result of this collaboration, the TRC developed curriculum and piloted Essential Workplace Skills training.
As of June 2017, COS is pre-approved to offer various trainings, including soft skills, for companies in Tulare County, with the WIB paying all costs.
Employers identified the need for staff to sharpen skills in areas such as communication, teamwork, attitude and problem solving skills, explained Jorge Zegarra, TRC Director, "In response, we have developed soft skills training for different levels within the organization," said Zegarra. "These trainings will develop more engaged and productive team members."
In collaboration with multiple businesses and regional organizations, the Training Resource Center continues to gather feedback to refine training offerings. To learn more about how employee training can improve your bottom line, contact us at 559.688.3130 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or go online to cos.edu/TrainingCenter.
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