Antioch College, in collaboration with Miami University’s Institute for the Environment and Sustainability, is establishing a new set of cooperative education relationships with employers representing various components of Ohio’s dynamic food processing industry. Known as the Ohio Agrarian Trade (OAT) Partnership, the program is intended to build student skills through direct immersion in the world of work. The purpose is twofold. First, it will increase understanding of the knowledge and skill sets required by employers as they bring Ohio agricultural products to market. Second, it will improve undergraduate curricula relating to food production and otherwise leverage the resources of academia in preparing students for careers with food processing firms throughout the state. The program is based on the assumption that the key to aligning academic training with the needs of the food industry is to foster sustained relationships between students, educators and employers, while emphasizing promising career opportunities linked to food processing innovation and the creative expansion of Ohio’s agrarian trade.
The Ohio Agrarian Trade (OAT) Partnership will deepen students’ understanding of the food processing industry while helping them develop the experience necessary to secure jobs in the state. It is intended to promote a high level of integration aligning the skills sets taught in the classroom with the needs of employers. Through the establishment of new co-op relationships, we will prepare numerous students annually for careers in dairy product manufacturing, beverage production, confectioneries, fruit and vegetable preserving and specialty food manufacturing, seafood product preparation and other value aggregation processes. This program will help ensure that debates over food and agricultural policy will be informed by citizens with real-world experience and close associations with the producers of agrarian products throughout the state.