APPLETON, Wis.— A new program at Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) is aiming to meet the need for workers in the meat industry.

Chef Jeff Igel teaches culinary arts at FVTC. He said the new program will incentivize students to enter the industry.

“Right now there’s a tremendous need for butchers and meat fabricators,” Igel said. “The industry is just crying for help. Our response to that need is we want to generate more individuals that are professionally trained that can go right into the workforce and start making an impact almost immediately.”

The college announced a new program that will see Igel’s culinary department partner with the school’s agriculture department to meet the needs of meat processors statewide.

“The meat shops, the butcher shops, in our area are doing so well that has and will continue to probably produce this demand from the consumers that has necessitated the ability to produce more employees to produce these products,” Igel said.

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary Randy Romanski said there’s a sense of urgency in producing more skilled meat workers.

“I’ve spoken to some of the largest processors in the state who say they’re always looking for employees, they’re always hiring, they’ve had to raise their wage rates. I talked to medium sized processors, and I’ve talked to people who have maybe a half a dozen people who work in their facility and they’re all looking for people,” Romanski said.

Igel said if there was ever a time to enter the meat industry, it’s now.

“The opportunities in this career are tremendous,” Igel said.