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January 21, 2013 | By Douglas Forst
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GEAPS and K-State Expand Distance Education Program

Adding new courses and updating others to meet growing demand

To meet increased interest and demand, GEAPS and Kansas State University have worked diligently to create a program that is expanding each year in scope and value, and 2013 is no exception. We’re adding four new courses and updating another. And we’re also likely to see the first students earn our new Grain Operations Management Credential. 

The credentialing program, which began in 2012, adds an important dimension to the distance education program.  This is the industry’s only credential in the field of grain operations, and allows professionals the ability to enhance their careers and validate the knowledge they have gained through distance education courses.  Participants will find that the credentialing program offers them systematic routes to achieve professional-development goals, college credit, and industry-wide recognition for initiative.  In addition, the credential enhances qualifications for promotion and taking on additional responsibilities.  Besides benefiting professionals on an individual basis, the credentialing program offers the grain industry an organized, meaningful and inexpensive way to train new employees and enhance job skills of existing employees, as well as resolve the need to identify and cultivate the next generation of grain-operations professionals.  

On April 22, GEAPS is launching the last course needed to earn the credential, GEAPS 500: Introduction to Grain Operations. It’s geared for people who are new to the industry or who need to learn the basics of grain handling. No other course like it exists anywhere.

The five other courses required to obtain the credential are: GEAPS 510:  Facilities Planning & Design I, GEAPS 520:  Grain Quality Management, GEAPS 530:  Quality Management Systems, GEAPS 540:  Safety and Management for Grain Facilities and GEAPS 550:  Materials Handling I. Recognizing the value, three companies have indicated they plan to have groups of their grain operations employees pursue the credential, and as word travels among the industry, enrollment in these courses is steadily increasing.

Along with the addition of the credential, the number of distance education courses has increased in the last couple of years. We offered 12 courses in 2011, and 14 courses in 2012. This year, we’ll be offering 19 and next year 21.  As noted, the growth is driven by demand and interest.  Over 60 professionals registered for the first course of 2013, the recently updated GEAPS 520:  Grain Quality Management.  The four new distance education courses being offered in 2013 are:  GEAPS 500:  Introduction to Grain Operations, GEAPS 510:  Facilities Planning & Design I, GEAPS 544:  Preventing Grain Dust Explosions, and GEAPS 555:  Grain Elevator Equipment Maintenance II.

Distance education allows working adults the flexibility needed to achieve educational objectives from the comfort of their home or work computer as everything can be accomplished online.  Interested individuals should peruse the 2013 course schedule for topics they find pertinent as there is a wide variety of subject matter to choose from.  Of immediate interest may be the two courses listed below, both beginning March 18, and the intro course that mentioned previously.

GEAPS 525:  Management of Insect Pests

Registration closes March 12.

This course focuses on insect pests associated with stored grain, and provides fundamental knowledge required to manage insect infestations using practical nonchemical and chemical methods.

GEAPS 540:  Safety Management for Grain Facilities

Registration closes March 12.

The goal of the five week course will be to enhance the basic knowledge and skills of operations management staff within the grain handling and processing industry in order to minimize the most significant worker safety and health risks in the industry.

GEAPS 500:  Introduction to Grain Operations

Registration opens March 20 and closes April 16.

This course provides basic but comprehensive information about operations at grain facilities, and serves as an introduction to new hires, students and others in need of beginner-level training. Stressing safety, it focuses on how grain moves through a facility, and covers main elevator types, components and equipment, grain receiving, sampling and testing, housekeeping and maintenance, fumigation, outbound procedures and other fundamental grain-facility functions.

GEAPS and K-State are extremely proud of the 2013 distance education program offerings and are energized by the industry support we’ve seen and continue to see as the program progresses. None of this would be possible without the hard work and expertise of GEAPS members who dedicate their time and talents. GEAPS and K-State look forward to continuing to provide the grain industry with high-quality distance education opportunities.

To find out more about GEAPS/K-State distance education, please visit http://www.geaps.com/knowledge/dist_learn/index.cfm.

Douglas Forst is the president of CMC Industrial Electronics and Chairman of GEAPS' Distance Education Program Oversight Committee.

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