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GCC's Food Processing Technology program is changing lives!


BATAVIA, N.Y. -- When a career needs a boost - community colleges are the best place for a dedicated employee and a desirable company to meet and develop a plan of action that satisfies the interests of both. Such was case with Andy Willits who began working in an entry level position at LiDestri Food and Drink in Fairport, NY when he was just 19 years old. After 13 years of service, he liked his job and his company, but he desired greater responsibility and a fresh challenge.

With the support of the management team at LiDestri, Andy began researching career advancement paths and quickly discovered that in order to get where we wanted to be, he would need a college degree. Through some online searches, Andy found that "GCC was the only community college in Western New York to offer degrees in food processing. I found the two year degree specifically focused on food manufacturing and it offered a flexible schedule, it was perfect," Andy said.
In January 2018, after just two years at GCC, Andy earned a Food Processing Technology A.A.S. degree. "Earning the degree gave me a lot of personal satisfaction; it was a challenge to manage a full-time job, school and making sure I had enough time for my family," Andy shared. "Completing the program gave me a real sense of accomplishment."
Andy balanced the demands of work, home and school by taking advantage of GCC's robust online learning opportunities. He was able to complete 50% of Food Processing Technology A.A.S. without having to step foot on campus! During his last semester at GCC, Andy was able to apply the experiences gained at his current job to meet the requirements of the program's semester-long internship placement through the use of GCC's Credit for Prior Learning opportunity.
"Having (GCC's) satellite campuses really helped with flexibility and managing my life inside of school and my family," Andy added. He also encouraged other returning college students to "ask about credit for prior learning! There are a lot of ways to make GCC fit into your life really well! Pairing my degree with my years of job experience has really opened up what opportunities I'm able to pursue."
GCC recently received a highly sought-after State University of New York (SUNY) needs grant and completed significant upgrades to student laboratories and equipment to provide the most up-to-date learning experiences. GCC's FPT program was designed not only to prepare students to enter the workforce immediately, but to position them perfectly for a seamless transfer into a four-year degree program at any number of institutions both within and outside of the SUNY system. GCC currently has transfer agreements in place with SUNY Cobleskill, Cornell University College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and many more. GCC's transfer pathways programs help you plan your coursework to maximize your time in college. Learn more about transfer pathways at https://www.genesee.edu/offices/transfer/.
Attend GCC's Open House Monday, November 12, 2018 between 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. to meet professors and instructors, explore the campus, get help with financial aid and see exactly why so many individuals choose GCC. Details on the Food Processing Technology program are available at https://www.genesee.edu/academics/programs/tech/food/.
For more information or photographs, contact Marketing Communications Associate Director Donna Rae Sutherland at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6616, or via email: dsutherland@genesee.edu.

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