Animal Technology Graduates Fill Labor Gap
Students in the Agricultural Science Department at Linn-Benton Community College can follow an Animal Science Program track, or an Animal Technology Program track. While most students in animal science transfer to pursue a four-year degree, those in the animal technology programs do not. They go straight to work after graduation.
“It is really a service we’re providing,” said Clay Weber, chair of the Animal Science Department.
LBCC has two CTE programs in agriculture: Animal Technology and Animal Technology - Horse Management.
Either program can lead to a veterinary technician position. Local veterinarians need LBCC’s graduates. There is only one program for veterinary technicians in the state, and it enrolls only 24 students per year. It is not enough to meet the demand.
LBCC alumni fill the gap and provide needed labor to local veterinarians. Some go on to become veterinary technicians. Some leave LBCC to return to family farms to raise their own animals and help their family business to be more effective. Those who graduate from the Animal Technology – Horse Management Program head to careers as facility managers, trainers, and more.
“These kids come in, and in two years when they’re done, they are hireable,” said Weber.
The programs benefit local industry even before the students graduate.
Weber teaches a sheep or swine production class that students must take for their degree. “With this class we get them real experience,” said Weber. “We have sheep producers around the area and they are often overwhelmed. They ask me ‘When can you come out?’”
Weber brings the class out to dock tails, deworm lambs, and give vaccinations. “They are pretty appreciative,” said Weber. “And it gives our kids the hands-on, practical experience they need.”