Applying coursework learned in the classroom in a real-world environment while working with industry leaders is an amazing way to learn.
Lakeland University partnered with some of Wisconsin’s largest food manufactures to develop a program that student Tracy Foss credited with making her more marketable.
“What greater opportunity to really immerse yourself in your education with hands-on experience, and work on projects that are live and valuable to the company immediately,” Foss said.
Foss’ program - the first-of-its-kind food safety and quality (FSQ) degree program at Lakeland University - blends the science of biology and chemistry with best business practices to prepare students for careers in food processing. Graduates are well-rounded manufacturing professionals equipped to advance in the production of food while also possessing finance, management philosophy and other skills needed to lead.
Unlike a food science degree, which prepares students for food research and development, Lakeland’s food safety and quality program focuses on the safe production of food. Students learn from food industry leaders by working and earning credit both in Lakeland’s classrooms and at local employers.
“The curriculum in the FSQ program is very diverse … well balanced between science courses and business courses,” said Samantha Hansen, another Lakeland student. “Almost everything that I’ve taken I immediately saw how these would apply in the roles.”
Recent Lakeland graduate Ryan Hoey said an in-depth program leading to employment was a critical factor in his decision to enroll in the FSQ program. “All these food companies in the area were looking for people with these set of skills,” Hoey said.
Lakeland’s FSQ program partners include Johnsonville, Sargento, Masters Gallery Foods, Old Wisconsin, Usinger’s, Klement’s Sausage and Miesfeld’s.
The university’s state-of-the-art-lab is a primary learning space for students enrolled in the only program of its kind in the nation.
Lakeland received a $500,000 gift from Johnsonville to fund creation of the lab. Johnsonville also donated manufacturing equipment to simulate a food manufacturing plant, and SSL Industries donated USDA-approved stainless-steel tables and product line. The lab allows students to have hands-on experiences that replicate the work they will find on the job.
The strength of Lakeland’s FSQ program is a direct result of industry partnerships. An industry-led board ensures the program develops the type of employee they want to hire, bringing the best, well-rounded new leaders into the food industry.
Founded in 1862, Lakeland University is an innovative, affordable four-year, private university that integrates the liberal arts with experiential learning through its award-winning Cooperative Education program. Lakeland’s main campus is located in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, and the institution has strong ties to the United Church of Christ. Lakeland serves approximately 3,000 students, including traditional undergraduates at its main campus, undergraduate and graduate students taking evening and online courses through one of Lakeland’s seven centers located throughout Wisconsin and students enrolled at its campus in Tokyo, Japan. Learn more at lakeland.edu. Lakeland is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.