New plan addresses US equine industry staff shortages

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A program offering the likes of apprenticeships or certificate training for equine workers in the United States has been suggested by the American Horse Council (AHC).

A shortage of documented workers for jobs in the equine industries has created a demand by employers to seek a new approach to finding, assessing, training and certifying a domestic workforce.

The proposal to build a national network of “hosts” for equine industry training was raised at the AHC’s recent annual meeting, in response to the heavy reliance on the pool of foreign labor who work under the Federal Government’s H-2B Guest Worker Visa program.

A task force has been created by the AHC to assess the demand for such a program, identify competencies and credentialing requirements, organize employer collaboratives and identify and evaluate educator/training providers as well as other components to build a compelling business model.

The time has come for stakeholders in the equine industry to create a new domestic national workforce pipeline, the AHC said.

The council is actively seeking grants and collaborating with other organizations to solicit ideas and funding including sources such as the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation; Community Colleges and State Land Grant Universities; and US Department of Labor Apprenticeships.

Members of the task force include: Remi Bellocq, Executive Director, North American Racing Academy at Bluegrass Community and Technical College; Dr. Reid McLellan, PhD, Director of the Groom Elite Program; Dr. Jeff Berk, Board Chair of American Association Equine Practitioners; Christy Landwehr, Executive Director of Certified Horsemanship Association, Eric Hamelback, CEO of National Horseman’s Benevolent & Protective Association; Dr. Glenn Blodgett- Past President of American Quarter Horse Association and chief veterinarian at the Four Sixes Ranch; Bill Scebbi, Chair of Coalition of State Horse Councils; Michael Matz, US racehorse trainer and former Olympic equestrian team member; and Laurie Mays, Equine Talent Pipeline Project Manager at Kentucky Chamber Foundation.

 

» Those interested in taking part in the initiative should contact AHC President Julie Broadway at jbroadway@horsecouncil.org. A survey to assess demand for equine workers has also been created.

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