Wilkes Community College’s Applied Animal Science Technology is the only community college program in the state to be awarded a $6,600 grant from the USPOULTRY Foundation. Grant monies are to help recruit students to the program to train for employment in the poultry industry. The foundation provides annual recruiting and retention funds to colleges and universities to attract students to their poultry programs.

WCC and 29 other institutions with industry-related programs will share the more than $282,500 in grants awarded by the USPOULTRY Foundation. The grants were made possible by gifts received from companies and individuals within the poultry industry. A donation from Prestage Farms, based in Clinton, N.C., made possible the grant that WCC received.

The college’s Applied Animal Science Technology program prepares students for careers in the production of livestock such as beef cattle, dairy cattle, horses, poultry, sheep, goats and swine and other careers related to the animal science industry.

Mindy Herman, lead instructor for the Animal Sciences program, played a key role in getting this grant. “It is important for Wilkes Community College to recruit students to train for careers in the poultry industry. Scientific research and new technology make the industry very dynamic,” said Herman. “Industry practices today are different than they were a decade ago, and even a couple of years ago. And our regional poultry industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds. So not only are we recruiting and training new employees for the industry, we are also offering opportunities for current employees in the industry to learn about the latest industry practices and breakthroughs.”

The Applied Animal Science Technology program began at Wilkes Community College in fall 2014 semester. The program had 22 students in 2014-2015; 35 students in 2015-2016; and 60 students for 2016-2017. 21 students graduated from the WCC Animal Science program in May of 2017, with various degrees, diplomas, and certificates. For the 2017-2018 school year there are 88 students, including Career and College Promise Students. Approximately 26 students will graduate from the program during the 2017-2018 school year.

It is the mission of Wilkes Community College to provide quality education to the citizens of the college’s service area and workforce development. Considering the aging population of farmers in WCC’s service area, the need for an emergent workforce for animal science is pertinent to maintain and support the industry that produces millions of dollars annually to aid in sustaining local, regional and state economic vitality. In fact, Wilkes County ranks third in the state in broiler (poultry) production, third in the state in all forms of cattle production, eighth for egg production, and third in the state in beef cattle production. Alleghany and Ashe counties rank sixth and thirteenth, respectively, in the state in all forms of cattle production. For more information about the Animal Sciences program at Wilkes Community College, contact Mindy Herman at 336-838-6226 or mvherman996@wilkescc.edu.

U.S. Poultry & Egg Association established the USPOULTRY Foundation in 1994 to provide student recruiting funds to universities with poultry science departments. In 2004, the Poultry Science Education Funding Program, now named the Industry Education Recruitment Funding Program, was added to the Foundation’s umbrella so other colleges and universities that offer industry-related studies are eligible to apply for recruiting grants.

Dr. Jeff Cox, WCC President presents a check from the USPOULTRY Foundation to Lead Animal Science Instructor Mindy Herman
Front Row L-R: Mindy Herman, Dr. Jeff Cox
2nd Row L-R: Noah Walker, Chelsea McNeil, Katelyn Parker, Harlee Glass, Amanda Salmi, Kayla Couch
3rd Row L-R: Morgan Bullard, Brittany McNeill, Lisa Staley, Erica Matteson, Ruth St. John, Briana Jester, Krystal Linney
4th Row L-R: Archie Staley (CCP Animal Science Instructor), Frank Blevins (Animal Science Instructor), Eric Williams, Lee Million, Austin Gentle, and Blake Ashely