Idaho Refugees Get Food Processing Training from University of Idaho’s Food Technology Center Staff

Friday, April 9 2010


CALDWELL, Idaho—About 25 Idaho refugees from three Boise resettlement agencies will get job training in food processing the week of April 12 from specialists at University of Idaho’s Food Technology Center in Caldwell.

Refugees from Iraq, Bhutan and Congo will be introduced to food processing concepts and practices on April 12 in the Idaho Department of Labor office at 219 W. Main St. in Boise. On April 13 and 15 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., they’ll augment that classroom training with a tour of AFI Packaging’s Caldwell food processing plant and with hands-on experience in potato processing at the Food Technology Center in University of Idaho Extension’s Caldwell Complex, 1908 E. Chicago St. Participants must pass a skills test to receive a certificate.

“We’re glad to team up with University of Idaho Extension and area employers to pre-train food processing workers and to give refugees a solid foundation to build on even before they step into food processing plants,” said Tara Wolfson, regional employment coordinator for the Idaho Office for Refugees. “That not only helps our refugees but the region’s food processing firms.”

Wolfson calls training refugees in food processing a “natural fit—since many come from agricultural backgrounds and working with foods is familiar to them.”

“The food processing industry is relatively stable and even experiencing some growth locally,” said Drew Dalgetty, the university’s Food Technology Center director. “People will continue to eat, and food processing will continue to need a labor force, and that can provide opportunities for refugees.”

Instruction will be delivered by Dalgetty and by the center’s assistant director Joshua Bevan and kitchen supervisor Cini Baumhoff. Participating Boise resettlement agencies include World Relief, International Rescue Committee and Agency for New Americans.

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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 130 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. The university is home to the Vandals, the 2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl champions. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu