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The New Jersey Food Council (NJFC) has received a customized training grant from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development for $342,800. The 2012 grant will enable the Trenton-based NJFC to continue its food handler’s training and prepare retail food store managers for the national food certification exam. In addition to food safety, the grant makes other training programs available to NJFC members, including courses in leadership skills, customer service, team building, motivation and coaching. Courses will also be offered in several languages.
“Over the years the food council has supported the training of its member store associates, and more than 5,000 food handlers have been trained in proper food handling and food health and safety practices with grant funds obtained through the State Department of Labor,” noted NJFC President Linda Doherty. “This program has permanently upgraded the skills, qualifications and employability of the state”s food industry workforce and is a valuable benefit of food council membership.”
The grant allows the NJFC to continue and expand its partnership with the Rutgers University Office of Continuing Professional Education to boost the productivity and skills of New Jersey workers.
The food manager’s certification course included in the grant is in compliance with Chapter 24 of the New Jersey Food Code and is mandated by the State Department of Health. The law requires a person in charge of food handling at an establishment to obtain a food safety certificate by passing a certification examination administered by an accredited certifying program recognized by the Conference for Food Protection. Accredited exams include SuperSafeMark or Serv Safe.
“The issue of food safety has always been paramount to our industry,” added Doherty. “For that reason, NJFC is committed to providing members and their associates with the necessary resources to meet the demand for these skills in today’s marketplace.”
The NJFC grant award is a 12-month agreement ending Dec. 2, 2012. Before receiving the 2012 grant, the NJFC and Rutgers had successfully collaborated on four previous grant awards.
The NJFC represents almost 400 members serving the retail, wholesale and manufacturing segments of the New Jersey food distribution industry.