This project's goal is to invest in underrepresented students to meet the needs of local and regional meat and poultry facilities through developing production workers, supervisors, and managers through training, certifications, and networking. This project will emphasize technical and leadership skills. To achieve this goal underrepresented students at a community college (Palo Alto College) and at a four-year institution (TAMUK) who potentially have interest in the meat and poultry industries will be identified. The students will be evaluated on their desire for jobs in production setting and/or leadership positions. The training, certifications, and networking opportunities outlined in this project will be tailored to each student's desired job preference.Objective 1: Develop a workforce of a minimum of 100 students prepared for entrance into technical employment in the meat and poultry industries.Provide education and hands-on training to students about livestock management's impact on meat yield, quality and safety as well as hands-on training of production in a small-scale processing plant. Each year TAMUK will host on-campus workshops that will be covering topics relating to livestock evaluation for carcass value, carcass value, and food safety. The TAMUK Meat Lab can be considered a small-scale processing plant where the workshop participants will get hands-on training of the slaughtering and fabricating process of swine, sheep, goats, and poultry.Increase the number of underrepresented and Hispanic individuals credentialed in subject matters applicable to the meat and poultry industries. This MEAT'S Workforce project will fund student participants to receive certifications in HACCP, worker safety, and quality assurance for livestock species.Increase competency of technical skills by funding summer internships. Students pursuing an associate's degree and bachelor's degree will be placed in internships in the meat and poultry industries including USDA agencies such as AMS and FSIS.Objective 2: Develop a workforce prepared for entrance into mid-level technical employment and mentored for career advancement in the meat and poultry industries.Increase leadership skills through trainings and certificates. Students will be funded to attend the American Meat Science Association (AMSA) Student Leadership Conference as well as two online trainings of Student Leadership Practices Inventory 360 and Transitioning to Supervisor. Additionally, the bachelor and master students at TAMUK will be mentored by the project personnel to teach and lead activities at workshops hosted at TAMUK.Increase the students' ability to receive competitive wages as well as improve understanding of their ability to advance in their careers through networking at conferences/meetings. Students will be exposed to potential employers by attending the Texas Association of Meat Processors or the Southwest Meat Association conventions. The PD and Co-PDs will mentor the students while at the conventions increasing their knowledge about compensation and career advancement opportunities.Objective 3: Encourage careers within USDA pertaining to meat and poultry. Students will have the opportunity to participate in summer internships with USDA to experience potential careers. Additionally, the training about small-scale processing will expose the students to aspects of USDA and the agency's involvement in the meat and poultry industries.Objective 4: Bolster student confidence in their ability to obtain advanced degrees in the fields of meat, poultry, and animal sciences. The training and experiences the participants will receive will increase in their confidence in the field of meat and poultry. Throughout their participation in activities, associate students will get to know bachelor students and bachelor students will get to know master students for which the students will provide evidence that obtaining advance degrees is possible. Furthermore, the master students will be exposed to industry personnel that have a Ph.D. allowing them to see the role doctors have in the meat and poultry industries.