Summary of Awards to Date

Increasing the number of minority food inspectors through mentoring and career-oriented experiential learning at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

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Date

Sep. 1, 2008 - Aug. 31, 2011

Award Number

ARKE-2008-02467

Funding Agency

Center for Produce Safety

Amount Awarded

$194,181.00

Investigator

Makuba Lihono

Co-Investigator(s)

Koo, J., Balogu, D., and Buckner, E.

Summary

This proposed enhancement of programs in Regulatory Science, Animal Sciences and, Food Service Management, and Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) will recruit, mentor, and train students for a Federal Food Inspector positions. Included in the training are: 1.) individualized mentoring by faculty with expertise in food safety and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) mentors, and 2.) career-oriented experiential learning obtained by serving two mandatory internships with the USDA/FSIS prior to college graduation. The academic programs will be enhanced with an additional course in Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, guest-speaker lectures, and internships in plants. These experiences will advance the scholars' career placement as Federal Food Inspectors to protect the nation's food supply, public health, and food biosecurity. The internships with FSIS will allow students to complete the 640 hours required for noncompetitive placement into full-time Federal Food Inspector positions. Tuition assistance in the form of scholarships will be provided to the Federal Food Inspector scholars for 3 years toward graduation. This project will strengthen the 2004 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreed upon by UAPB and USDA/FSIS to recruit food inspectors. This teaching proposal will address Program Priority Area #1 with emphasis area of Food Safety. The Teaching Project's Program Need Areas (Discipline Code EP.G) addressed include (v) Student Experiential Learning and (vi) Student Recruitment and Retention. This project will support USDA Strategic Goal 3: "Enhance Protection and Safety of the Nation's Agriculture and Food Supply" by fostering qualified Food Inspectors who will contribute to protection of the nation's food supply. The results of the proposed project are: 1) The improvement in the learning and the enhancement of academic performance of students due to exposure to visuals and practical laboratory classes, training in ServSafer and HACCP (with award of nationally recognized certificates), and participation in internships during the course of study; 2) An increase in the number of minority students enrolled in the School of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Human Sciences (SAFHS) ; 3) An increase in the number of minorities enrolled in FSIS internships; 4) An increase in the awareness of Federal Food Inspector profession and increased number of minorities from UAPB applying for jobs as a Food Inspector. Measurable outcomes will included an overall increase in the number of students in the SAFHS before and after the program, the increase retention rate of students in SAFHS, the higher Grade Point Average (GPA) of students enrolled in Federal Food Inspector program as compared with other students in the SAFHS, the higher graduation rate of students participating in the program, the increased number of minority students from UAPB participating in internships with FSIS, and an increase in the number of minority from UAPB applying and getting jobs with FSIS as a Food Inspector.