The Foundation of the Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA) said it is pleased to recognize the first students of its recently developed Food Industry Technician (FIT) certification program, created to prepare future technicians for careers in the food and beverage processing, packaging and equipment manufacturing industries. The certification program being piloted at Lincoln Tech's Union, N.J., campus is in response to the technical complexity of food processing and equipment manufacturing and the growing need for technicians with a specific skill set in the fast-changing food and beverage industry.

"The FIT certification is a way for students entering the workforce and current manufacturing workers to gain new skills and qualify for technician roles,” said Gil Williams, foundation chairman. “Students in the FIT program focus on mechanics, electronics, freestanding and integrated processing equipment and advanced manufacturing in the food and beverage processing packaging industry.

“Members of the Food Processing Suppliers Association will have the opportunity to interview these graduating students and fill much-needed positions within their organizations,” Williams added. “Several FPSA members donated equipment to the program, giving the students real world work experience."

Nine students were selected for the FIT pilot program and will graduate in January 2019. The 12-week/360-hour program focuses on mechanical, electrical and manufacturing automation and is being taught by Ernesto Reina, who has experience in teaching a Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning program along with the Electronics Systems Technician Program, FPSA said, and has previous work experience in the food industry.

For more information about the FIT certification program, visit