Inaugural class in FPSA partnership helps fill employers’ need for skilled technicians
Parsippany, NJ, June 10, 2021 — Lincoln Educational Services Corporation (NASDAQ: LINC), marking 75 years in 2021 as a national leader in specialized technical training, has announced that the first class of Food Industry Technician (FIT) program graduates are finding success in new careers with food processing employers across the country. Nearly all graduates of the program, offered exclusively at Lincoln Tech’s Indianapolis campus, are now employed in the field.
“This has been a tremendously successful start to our collaboration with the Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA),” says Scott Shaw, Lincoln Tech’s President and CEO. “When the partnership was formalized in the fall of 2019, the goal was to help as many students as possible enter the workforce of an industry that plays a crucial role in food production worldwide. Our FPSA partners were ready to support our students with equipment and an industry-specific curriculum, and in turn Lincoln Tech is providing them with a new generation of skilled service and maintenance technicians.”
Acceptance into the 12-week FIT training program was contingent upon graduates of Lincoln Tech’s Electrical and Electronic Systems Technology (EEST) programs successfully completing an application process that included meeting GPA and attendance requirements, submitting instructor recommendations, and passing a 40-question technical assessment. Students who met all of the criteria were then interviewed by the CEO of the FPSA before an acceptance decision was made. Graduates of the FIT program qualified for entry-level positions at the more than 400 member organizations of the FPSA.
“These careers are recession-proof, because no matter what’s going on in the world, people still need to eat,” says Keston Edwards, Manager of Partner Accounts at Lincoln Tech. “It’s an industry that’s continuing to grow, with industry equipment becoming more automated and technologically advanced, and veteran technicians nearing retirement. Industry employers are working hard to identify new candidates with very specific electrical and mechanical skills to fill current and future job openings.”
“There’s a dire need for technicians in the food processing industry,” he adds. “Our employer partners in FPSA are providing a lot of support for the FIT program.”
Those employers include many industry leaders such as Smithfield, Weber, Poly-clip, Provisur, JBS, Handtmann, and West Liberty Foods – where Lincoln Tech graduate Chris Osias now enjoys a thriving career. Working as a Maintenance Technician, Osias performs troubleshooting, repairs, and routine maintenance on critical pieces of equipment that produce foods for companies like Walmart and Subway.
“I grew up watching my father, a mechanic, earn a living working with his hands,” he says. “He taught me a lot and I always had an interest in mechanical repair. I started out thinking about becoming an electrician, but when I learned about the FIT program and the opportunities in the food processing industry, it really caught my interest.”
Osias completed the EEST training program at Lincoln Tech’s Union, NJ campus before applying for the FIT program. Once accepted, he moved to Indianapolis for training and was hired by West Liberty to work in their Chicago branch. “I’d never been to Indianapolis or Chicago before,” he says. “I’ve lived in Chicago now for the past 7 months, and it’s been an amazing experience.”
For FIT program graduates, that kind of experience can be life changing. So too can the compensation: graduates can be hired at salaries above those typically projected for entry-level electronics technicians, and hiring packages often include full benefits. Many employers also include perks such as signing bonuses, reimbursements for relocation costs, and apartment search assistance.
The positions often come with relocation and travel expectations: 70-80% of a service technician’s time, Edwards notes, will be spent traveling to perform service duties at various plants across the country. Lincoln Tech graduates have so far been hired by employers in California, Texas, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and New Jersey. Osias cites the opportunity to travel as part of the draw.
“I was born in Haiti and moved to New Jersey as a child,” he says. “Getting to move to new places, first for training and then for a job, was exciting to me. I love to travel so this kind of career is ideal for me.”
More than 820,000 Electricians and Electronic Systems Technicians will be needed around the country by 2029, according the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Much of that need will be concentrated in the food processing industry. “There’s tremendous potential for growth in this field,” Edwards says. “You have to have grit and passion, and a ‘whatever it takes’ mentality. Each student that has attended the FIT Program possess these traits, and have positioned themselves to reach their goals not only in their careers, but in life.”
About Lincoln Educational Services Corporation
Lincoln Educational Services Corporation is a leading provider of diversified career-oriented post-secondary education. Lincoln offers recent high school graduates and working adults career-oriented programs in five principal areas of study: automotive technology, health sciences, skilled trades, business and information technology, and hospitality services. Lincoln has provided the workforce with skilled technicians since its inception in 1946.
Lincoln currently operates 22 campuses in 14 states under four brands: Lincoln Technical Institute, Lincoln College of Technology and Euphoria Institute of Beauty Arts and Sciences. Lincoln also operates Lincoln Culinary Institutes in both Maryland and Connecticut.
For more information, go to lincolntech.edu.