Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Accession No.
Grant No.
Project No.
Proposal No.
Multistate No.
Program Code
Project Start Date
Mar 1, 2023
Project End Date
Feb 29, 2028
Grant Year
Project Director
Tarrant, K.
Recipient Organization
FRESNO,CA 93726-1852
Performing Department
Non Technical Summary
Student job-seekers in the poultry processing industry must possess technical knowledge in the areas of poultry handling, worker safety, and managerial leadership to be highly sought-after job candidates. Agriculture students graduating from California HSIs are at a disadvantage in gaining skillful poultry processing knowledge compared to students graduating from non-HSI poultry-centric institutions in the Midwest and Southeast U.S.To remedy the disproportionate access to poultry processing training as a method to increase career-readiness and hireability for HSI students, Fresno State's Center for the Optimization of Poultry (COOP) is partnering with Fresno City College to increase access to poultry processing career training for HSI students. The partnership will increase equity in job training for HSI students through provision of career counseling, utilization of innovative curricula development, facilitation of online welfare and in-person certificated modules at a pilot processing plant, hosting a West Coast poultry career fair, maximize experiential learning, and offer novel leadership opportunities. The educational training provided by COOP will become the gold standard in processing education for underserved students seeking a prominent career in the poultry processing industry and will promote career-readiness and competitiveness for HSI students. Through this effort, animal science, poultry science, warehouse technician, and maintenance mechanic students will undergo professional development preparation culminating in interview opportunities at an international college student career program and/or a regional job fair launched via COOP.The curricular resources developed and offered through COOP will be created in conjunction with industry partners to ensure students receive the most current educational training available. Certification standards, industry alignment of the curricula, student retention and success, and impact of advisory committee oversight will be disseminated through conference proceedings and marketed to industry and higher education institutions to increase participation of HSI students without access to poultry processing training nationwide, and to increase the value of the certification for processing employers.COOP will establish a standard for HSI students to gain access to regional/national private companies, governmental agencies, and nonprofits - all which can greatly benefit from the diverse poultry job seekers matriculating from California institutions. Prioritizing opportunities for California HSI students will promote equity amongst poultry students nationwide, and will increase competitiveness of underrepresented students in the job market.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
Goals / Objectives
Goal 1 - UNIVERSITY EDUCATIONAL ACCESS: Elevate Fresno State's Center for the Optimization Of Poultry (COOP) infrastructure to become a Center of Excellence (COE) for poultry processing offering a centralized, bilingual academic hub focusing on regional and nationwide improvement in welfare education and job training with an emphasis on impacting HSI students and supporting career advancement.Objective 1: The COOP COE will: (1) align processing education and training resources with industry needs; (2) formulize the Poultry processing Career Certificate to be recognized as an industry standard for student education in processing education; and (3) Promote nationwide access to resources developed in Obj. 2. The center's senior personnel include faculty and staff whose function it is to raise the standard for which poultry education is taught to the current/future workforce, and implement industry applicable outreach and research programs to address critical areas of poultry employment.Goal 2 - UNIVERSITY/WORKFORCE SKILL ENHANCEMENT: Develop and implement bilingual (English, Spanish) curriculum and technical workshops covering poultry processing management, welfare and handling, and worker safety to become the recognized standard for postsecondary/workforce poultry processing education.Objective 2: Project staff will: (1) develop and pilot an online bilingual English and Spanish processing curricular module available to HSI students; (2) embed curricula module into existing Fresno State Animal Science coursework for 72 HSI students per year leading to a minimum of 48 students graduating over the grant lifetime; (3) promote the online module as case studies to universities nationwide as a result of the anticipated industry-adoption of the curriculum as the recognized standard for processing education; and (4) create and offer in-person HSI student workshop module to foster adoption of processing plant technical, safety, and managerial skills. Students participating in the hands-on workshop will interact with industry leaders through cooperation with the Cal Poly-SLO pilot processing plant where students will explore poultry welfare evaluation, soft skills, and leadership skills in the processing industry.Curriculum Modalities - Curricula will be offered online to maximize student access - specifically those students at agricultural HSIs which lack course variety in animal production and welfare or lack institutional funding for on-campus poultry training facilities.To increase curricula accessibility, the curriculum will be created through Universal Design for Learning guidelines (CAST, 2008). The purpose of conducting a hands-on workshop to build on knowledge gained in the online module is to expose HSI students to a simulated commercial processing industry in a pilot processing plant to promote experiential learning and provide equity to HSI learners who lack such resources at their home campus.Certificate - Upon curricula mastery, students will be qualified to a) secure internships at private companies participating in the career fairs highlighted in Obj 3 and 4; and b) earn a Poultry Processing Career Certificate demonstrating readiness for entry- and mid-level poultry careers.Goal 3 - UNIVERSITY/CAREER TRANSITION: Establish student internship and job opportunity pathways through execution of job interview mentorship and career development study tours for 500 California community college/ university HSI students via attendance at regional and international conferences.Objective 3: Study tours will include: (1) interview and resume preparation offered through Fresno CC Career and Employment Center including technical and soft skills gained via completion of Obj. 2 education; (2) touring processing plants outside of California (e.g. - Southeastern US); (3) participation in IPPE and SJVMA; (4) participation in interviews for full time internship and job employment at the College Student Career Program at IPPE, and (5) build instructor capacity to lead the study tours and provide mentorship to students as they engage in industry networking opportunities.Goal 4 - POULTRY PROCESSING CAREER REALIZATION: Align strategic opportunities for regional internship and job accessibility by launching the West Coast Poultry Processing Career Fair for 600+ California HSI students pursuing poultry processing careers and West Coast companies seeking qualified employees.Objective 4: To ensure qualified California HSI students receive equitable consideration for prominent internship/ job opportunities, the COE will: (1) leverage industry partnerships to assemble companies for a West Coast Career Fair equivalent to the program at the IPPE College Student Program that caters to West Coast students; (2) facilitate networking opportunities for high school, community college, and university students, faculty, and advisors; (3) provide career counseling and advising for associate and bachelor degree seekers; (4) highlight poultry processing career opportunities on the West Coast; and (5) provide a venue for internship/career interviews.Goal 5 - HIGH SCHOOL-UNIVERSITY CAREER VISION: Demonstrate the impact of poultry processing career opportunities to 20 CA high school ag teachers as a catalyst for empowering student mentorship for high school-to-college-to-poultry processing career linkages for 100 high school students at their home institution.Objective 5: Hands-on professional development for high school ag teachers will include: (1) industry led discussions addressing California HSI students' potential for processing careers regionally and nationwide; (2) introduction to the curriculum and internship/job pathways laid out in Objs 1 and 2; (3) experiential learning via visiting a pilot poultry processing plant; and (4) assistance in creating motivational educational support for students to pursue these opportunities.
Project Methods
Obj. 1 - COOP COE to establish nationwide outreach: PDs will identify high-valued processing skillsets to emphasize in COE trainings. We will formalize and promote the Poultry Processing Career Certificate awarded to students after completion of the online welfare module and the hands-on training workshop. Student progress will be evaluated as it aligns with the metric developed by the COOP advisory committee to assess student suitability for hireability and career-readiness. Curriculum will be marketed through in-person and online demonstrations and case study evaluation to universities nationwide in need of poultry processing training for students. The COE website to provide education and career training.Obj. 2 - Curriculum and Workshop Development for Students: PDs and project consultants will confer to verify high quality educational topics will align with student knowledge needs. Entry level poultry management positions require the ability to mitigate complex management and bird handling-related problems that include leading groups, identifying goals and assessing situations, decision making about poultry health and wellbeing (Purnell, 2022), team development and conflict resolution, crisis management, and assessing logistical and budgetary issues. Moreover, the poultry industry experiences a constant evolution of best welfare practices based on evolving data. Instead of concentrating only on technical skills, to further the goal of developing students for career success within the poultry industry, the modules will integrate soft skills and leadership development including, but not limited to, public speaking and communication, team dynamics; personal leadership development, change and crisis management, and critical thinking. Theoretical concepts will be included through reflection, simulations, and interaction with members of the public outside of the poultry industry.Obj. 3 - Career Development Study to Atlanta, GA and SJVMA Annual Summit: The COE will utilize the established Fresno CC Career and Employment Center as a career advising and mentorship experts for students to engage in services such as: accurately translating skills and experiences gained in Obj. 2 into a resume, completing mock interviews, and constructing cover letters and follow up thank you letters. For students successful in obtaining internship experiences, such experiences will be evaluated from the student interns' perspectives and also the internship providers.This process is already established through the JCAST Internship and Career Readiness Center and will be adopted throughout this project. The COE will support student attendance and active participation at the IPPE and to the SJVMA annual conferences, while also increasing instructor capacity to mentor student tour groups for study tours.Obj. 4 - Establishing and implementing a West Coast Poultry Processing Career Fair: The COE will use organizational infrastructure at Fresno CC, to select a location and manage an annual regional career fair offering at least 100 student interviews. We will leverage extensive networks to secure private companies to participate in interview sessions, which will include a major international processing employer: Cargill, Inc. (letter of support attached).Obj. 5 - Professional development training for Ag Teachers: We will assist in identifying methods of delivery and best practices for engagement in high school classrooms to promote a pipeline for high school students to community colleges and four-year universities through marketing the hands-on workshop and demonstration of processing career opportunities to teachers. Training provided will be evaluated from the perspective of the ag teacher participants and also the senior personnel providing the training through registration forms and surveys.