Jun. 23, 2021
CWU to Debut Food and Ag Business Minor/Certificate Program This Fall
The Central Washington University College of Business is launching a new minor/certificate program in Food and Agribusiness Management and Marketing this fall, in response to the workforce and education needs identified around the region, along with increasing employer demand from the state’s food and ag industries.
The program focuses on preparing students for careers in the food and ag sectors, specifically in the areas of marketing and management, human resources, operations management, food service management, and product management.
The minor/certificate is open to all CWU students interested in careers in the food and ag industries. The three required courses are designed to deliver key business skills in those industries, such as policy interpretation, business strategy formulation, marketing and promotion, and HR management. The wide range of available electives, from accounting to wine studies, also makes the program an easy add-on for most CWU students.
“This program will give business majors a competitive advantage on the job market because they will acquire a good understanding of, and be able to solve, the marketing and management issues as they relate to the food and agricultural systems,” said Claudia Dumitrescu, an associate professor of marketing who has led the College of Business’ effort to launch the program.
A variety of non-business majors also stand to benefit from the new course offerings. Wine studies and hospitality, tourism, and event management majors, for example, can gain industry-specific business training — along with a competitive edge in the food and ag industry — and add value to their degrees by acquiring the marketing and management skills they will need in the food and wine industry.
In addition, students majoring in public health, geography, and interdisciplinary studies (social sciences) who want to pursue careers in public policy, or local, state, and federal government agencies, also will position themselves well with the knowledge and skills gained in the program.
Dumitrescu noted that in Washington alone, there are more than 440,000 jobs directly tied to the food and agriculture industries, making up nearly 48% of all jobs statewide — directly or indirectly related to food and ag. Overall, almost 30 % of total jobs in Washington relate to the food and agriculture industries; these sectors represent approximately one-fifth of all U.S. economic activity, and employers are looking to fill more of those positions all the time.
“We expect there will be a lot of career opportunities in these industries, both in Washington and nationwide,” Dumitrescu said, adding that the CWU program is unique because it confers the business knowledge — with an emphasis on the marketing and HR management skills — needed to succeed in the food and ag sectors.
“This is the first Food and AgBiz program offered by a business school in Washington state, and we will continue our efforts to address employers’ needs, student career preferences, and have a positive impact on our communities,” she continued. “In doing so, we plan to develop Ag Biz stackable certificates that can be used toward a bachelor’s degree that will prepare our students to fill the void in the job market.”
Media contact: David Leder, Department of Public Affairs, David.Leder@cwu.edu, 509-963-1518.