Program from UNL Prepares Tomorrow's Food Processing Managers


A new University of Nebraska-Lincoln online Food Processing Management Certificate Program is now available.

The program is a series of self-paced online courses with content presented as pre-recorded video lectures, PowerPoint presentations and quizzes to test understanding/comprehension.

The program is ideal for food processing plant workers, supervisors and managers; quality control and assurance personnel; and government regulators.

To earn a certificate from The Food Processing Center at UNL, participants must complete three sequential modules, which cover food safety, quality control/assurance, employee safety, food processing operations, product development, growth strategies and human resources.

Food processors are facing a management crisis that could have major consequences for business. Many of today's experienced managers soon will retire, and companies will be hard pressed to replace that expertise. Furthermore, complex regulations such as the Food Safety Modernization Act are accelerating change, and new communications technologies such as social media raise the public relations risk factors that must be considered in every decision to avoid catastrophes like the pink slime debacle.

Effective management today requires skilled leaders, supervisors and a rank and file who appreciate the need for systemic modifications, and who understand the part they play in a holistic operation.

"UNL has recognized our industry's major management challenges and it has worked with industry input to provide a solution," said Gordon Smith, vice president at ConAgra Foods. "UNL's online Food Processing Management Certificate Program will allow us to establish our next generation of supervisors and managers relatively easily."

"Companies need employees with a common knowledge base. If team members can't speak the same language, how can they solve the problems that inevitably arise?" said Stephen Pharr, market research analyst, at The Food Processing Center at UNL. "That's one of the reasons why we developed the online Food Processing Management Certificate Program."

The cost is $900 per module or $2,400 for the complete certificate program (three modules). Some states, such as California, offer tuition reimbursement through workforce development or labor department programs. Since the program is offered completely online, students can enroll from anywhere in the world and begin at any time.

For more information, visit

The Food Processing Center at UNL, in its 30th year, partners with the food industry on innovative technical and business development. Food is both a science and a business, and UNL understands the dynamic relationship of these two different, yet interconnected worlds.

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