Acting at its May meeting, The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents established a new A&M System center designed to prepare graduates for an industry facing a shortage of trained professionals.
The board approved the formation of the World Food Distribution Training Center of Excellence, previously a certification program, at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU). Center curriculum is designed to offer a comprehensive education in food industry careers such as distribution, logistics, transportation and international trade.
The center is a partnership among PVAMU, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and three other A&M System universities: Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University-Kingsville and Texas A&M International University in Laredo.
Dr. Wallace Migura, who will serve as director of the center, said the expansion of the certification program to an official A&M System center allows for heightened visibility and a more concentrated focus on forging new and innovative partnerships among government, industry and education.
A focus on collaboration will ultimately help Texas' food commodity industries succeed in a global economy, Migura said.
"This is an excellent program that provides students with the educational foundation to pursue a career in the domestic or international food industry, government agencies or trade associations," Migura said. "It also is a timely development because the food distribution sector is facing a shortage of trained professionals, especially minority professionals."
Supporters cite research that shows racial and ethnic minorities comprise only 8 percent of the state's undergraduate enrollment in agricultural business and management. Supporters also ppoint to Texası status as an important international commerce player, leading agricultural state and producer of commodities for both domestic and international consumption.
The center's courses and internship experiences are designed to expose students to a wide variety of food distribution issues, so when they complete the program, they are trained professionals ready to serve in positions of responsibility, Migura said.
The center provides certification for students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs in business, agricultural economics or agribusiness at the participating universities. Students are involved in coursework, internships, and an off-campus seminar program, including site visits to regional food distribution facilities.
To be eligible for the program, which can be completed at any of the four participating universities, students must complete 60 credit hours in their degree program and have a minimum grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.
For additional information, contact the Texas A&M International University College of Business Administration at 326. 2480.
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