The Degree You Can Sink Your Teeth Into


At GCC, we like to remember our middle name – community.

Through our new Food Processing Technology (FPT) A.A.S. degree, we’re continuing to build strong ties to our local community while providing a unique degree option for our students.

We teamed up with economic developers and leading institutions such as Cornell University, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and Rochester Institute of Technology, connecting the program to the greater Western New York area and taking advantage of all it has to offer.

“Area employers are eager to hire well-trained graduates of the program,” explained President Jim Sunser. “Many new job opportunities are available right now, and even more will be available in the coming years.”

That sounds great, but what is Food Processing Technology? Students will be building robots to make our food…right? Not quite.

Food Processing is a broad field that includes a variety of specific industries, including new food and beverage products, packaging and labeling, plant operation and management, food safety, and sustainability. Companies in the industry manufacture and process foods such as meat, seafood, dairy, fruits and vegetables, baked goods, and candy. There is a continued demand for food processors and manufacturers, as food consumption and distribution occurs globally!

GCC’s Food Processing Technology A.A.S. degree blends 15 FPT credits such as Food Safety, Sanitation and Hazard Analysis with a solid foundation in English, Biology, Chemistry, Computers, Business, Communication and Economics for a total of 63 credit hours over 4 semesters. Information taught in these courses prepare students to meet the growing need for skilled workers in the food science, manufacturing, and processing industry in Western New York and beyond.

The wide range of courses required to complete the FPT degree provides a foundation for multiple positions, including:

  • Quality Control Technician (approximate salary: $35,000)
  • Food Safety Expert (approximate salary: $40,000)
  • Quality Assurance Supervisor (approximate salary: $55,000)
  • Plant Operations Manager (approximate salary: $90,000)

For a full list of career and transfer opportunities, click here.

Throughout Western New York and the Finger Lakes region, there are more than 20,000 employees working within the food and beverage cluster. It is expected that 30% of the current workforce will be retiring within the next five years, and combined with GCC’s connection to companies such as Alpina, Barilla, Byrne Dairy, Kraft Foods, Muller Quaker, and Perry’s Ice Cream, graduates of the FPT program have an increased likelihood of directly entering the workforce.

The connections that GCC has worked to create with major food and drink companies also give our students the opportunity to participate in a supervised internship experience in an industry setting. This internship is required for all students in the FPT program, ensuring that they will be able to have tangible, real-world experience before entering the workforce.

Did we mention it’s the only program of its kind at any of SUNY’s 30 community colleges? And that it’s open to all high school graduates and GED recipients?

The FPT Scholarship

We’re offering a $500 scholarship to help students as they begin the FPT program. The scholarship covers the cost of FPT 101, Introduction to Food Processing Technology. The worksheet below should be submitted by August 4, 2014 to GCC Admissions Director Tanya Lane Martin, For more information regarding the scholarship, contact our admissions office at (585) 345-6800.

Find out more about GCC’s new FPT A.A.S. degree here, or get started and apply to GCC today!