Funds secured to boost safety and technology training for US grain and oilseed sector workers
The Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS) Foundation announced that it had reached its $4m endowment goal following a multi-year effort through donations from corporate and individual donors. Investment income from the endowment fund will provide funding for new and existing professional development programs from GEAPS.
The GEAPS Foundation was established in 2011 as a mechanism to secure a stable and sustainable funding stream for training grain and oilseed supply chain professionals. Its distance education program provides online, peer-reviewed continuing-education qualified courses taught by grain industry subject-matter experts. The idea of the online courses is to allow participants do the coursework at times that fit their busy schedules.
“We are currently going through strategic planning to determine what professional development looks like for our industry today and in the future,” said Steve Records, executive director, GEAPS Foundation. “Knowing that these funds will be available, we can continue refining our existing programs and creating new opportunities to fit the needs of our members and the industry at large.”
Training, development and industry challenges
GEAPS programs include training sessions on how to operate and repair grain elevator and feed mill equipment, for example.
“A lot of the technical aspects of what the industry does, whether it is in an elevator or in a feed mill, the principle of the science hasn’t changed a lot – grain drying is grain drying,” said Records. “The technology and knowledge of what that means to a specific plant can change and we can train [operatives] on new technologies and make sure people are aware of the technology they need.”
Other areas to be included in future training sessions include automation and safety, he said.
“Safety is first and foremost on many people’s minds. There are still way too many preventable accidents and preventable deaths that occur in the industry,” he said.
GEAPS current education programs include:
- GEAPS/Kansas State University Distance Education Program
- Nearly 40 hours of training at GEAPS Exchange
- Hands-On Training Program
- Grain Elevator Managers Course
- GEAPS Leadership, Education and Networking Workshop
- GEAPS/Grain Journal Webinar series
GEAPS’ educational programs are open to anyone, but GEAPS members receive discounts on registration.