Food Processing Centre for Animal Proteins officially opens at Assiniboine

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Food Processing students prepare food samples at the Food Processing Centre opening event

Assiniboine Community College’s new Food Processing Centre for Animal Proteins had its grand opening earlier today, welcoming donors who contributed to helping make the facility a reality.

The Centre allows the college to facilitate the training and experience necessary for graduates to have careers in the meat processing industry, addressing a workforce shortage in this sector. The new training facility opened to students in the Food Processing (Animal Proteins) 11-month certificate program in November 2019. 

The Centre was made possible through a combined $1.165 million in funding from industry and government partners including the Government of Canada, the Province of Manitoba, Maple Leaf Foods, HyLife Foods, Manitoba Pork, UFCW Local 832, and The Brandon Hog and Livestock Show.

“The growing world demand for protein provides our industry here in Manitoba with tremendous opportunities in new production and processing jobs,” said Blaine Pedersen, Minister of Agriculture and Resource Development. “This new facility will ensure that there is a steady stream of qualified individuals to work in our processing industry for years to come, and will keep our province at the leading edge of the protein sector.”

The potential for industry partnership goes beyond the funding for the facility. Long-term plans for the Centre include customized industry training, specialized program offerings and applied research.

“A key focus of Assiniboine’s strategic direction is providing leadership in the agriculture sector,” said Mark Frison, president of Assiniboine Community College. “The addition of this Centre helps the college continue to move forward in this important area while responding to industry labour needs.”

The 3,067-square-foot Food Processing Centre for Animal Proteins is housed at the college’s Victoria Avenue East campus in Brandon. Students in the Food Processing program also operate a retail store adjacent to the Centre, selling the meat products made in the program. Assiniboine recently held a naming contest for the retail space, now called The Protein Pantry.