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Hawkeye Community College offers meat science certification; help capacitate local meat lockers

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) - Hawkeye Community College not only offers a meat science program, but the college also offers a meat science certification.

After taking on more orders due to the pandemic, there has been a growing demand for meat lockers. However, local meat lockers have not been able to meet the demand due to not having enough workers.

Seeing the need for more butchers and workers in general, Hawkeye believes their certification can help increase workers. Already having its own meat science program, students are able to go to class in the school's meat lab.

MATERIAL STUDENTS LEARN ARE:

  • How meat is produced.
  • How to cut specific meats.
  • Butcher animals.
  • Process meats.
  • Turn meats into wholesale or retail cuts.
  • and so much more.

Part of a state task force to grow the meat locker industry, Dean of Applied Technologies David Grunklee said the program also teaches students how to safely perform the job.

"They cover hazardous analysis, the principles, they cover food safety they cover the science of food safety, microbiology is a course that they take, and they also get into knife skills and how to be safe in the lab," Grunklee said.

Believing exposure is the best method to growing the industry, Grunklee also said he's seen more students take interest in the industry.

"They learn the artisanal part of it, it's just not mass production," Grunklee said, "it's coming up with different flavors of bratwurst, it's learning different grinding techniques, and grinding styles for different meats to be able to make the texture different and appeal to different people."

The meat science certification is a two-semester program, and the meat lab is located inside the Fenneman Center. On top of learning the science and techniques behind processing meat, students are also able to study the school's cows and pigs to learn what makes quality meat.

To gain real-life experience, the program also offers an apprenticeship program with the "Edgewood Locker" in Edgewood, Iowa.

To learn more about the certification or the meat science program, click HERE.

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Alaina Kwan

Morning Reporter

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