A University of Idaho animal care training program for dairy workers launched this month in its pilot stage is targeting better understanding among employees of the job they do. The project, which will continue into future months, is co-sponsored by the Idaho Dairymen's Association.
The training has been offered for workers on two dairies in southern Idaho, and the research team is reviewing results.
Workers who complete the training will be awarded certificates of completion, and also may earn credits at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls that can be applied toward a certificate.
The new program expands efforts of the UI which has offered training programs in Spanish and English for dairy workers for several years. The existing program is expected to increase in value though the collaborative new training effort.
"It would certainly positively impact the dairy industry by adding to the knowledge base of workers as they are trained and certified," says Mireille Chahine, a UI Extension dairy specialist in Twin Falls.
"An integral part of our mission at the College of Southern Idaho is to provide workforce training and Technical Certificate education to help improve skills that are important in the workplace," says Terry Paterson, CSI instructional dean.
As a first phase, training is focusing on animal care, milking techniques, calf raising and feeding dairy animals. The curriculum, as in past training sessions, is developed in both languages.
Tony Vanderhulst, IDA president, says that the group supports the effort. "The association is excited about the potential of this collaborative effort between CSI, UI Extension and the dairy industry," he says.
"We anticipate that with success the program will expand to include and be utilized by anyone interested in working with dairy animals. It is critical when you're working with animals to understand and implement proper handling techniques. The program will be a valuable asset for our employees and our operations."