Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report from August notes that the unemployment rate is down to 5.1 percent, the job market has its share of challenges. Many college graduates are searching for work, and unemployed, experienced members of the workforce face difficulty landing new positions.   

But in the United States, there currently are 3.5 million unfilled middle-skill jobs that do not require a four-year degree and make up the largest part of the labor market in the country, according to the Food Processing Education Consortium (FPEC).

Through a partnership with ITT Technical Institute and leading food and beverage companies, FPEC is hoping to change that. At Process Expo, FPEC announced the launch of the Food Industry Technicians Development Program (FIT), a national certification program for service technicians in the packaging, processing, and food and beverage manufacturing industries.

“There is a tremendous need to attract new technicians to our industry to fill a major void. Demand is outstripping the supply, but graduates earning FIT certification will be armed with a two-year Associate’s Degree along with practical and experiential knowledge in the industry,” says Scott Scriven, chairman of the Foundation of the Food Processing Suppliers Association (FFPSA) and FPEC.

Scriven says the program initially kicked off in Chicago and Kansas City, Mo., and will include online and classroom instruction at ITT.

Companies, or those interested in the certification program, can learn more at