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MIDDLETOWN – SUNY Orange President Dr. Kristine Young recently announced the appointment of Jhack Sepulveda as executive director of Orange County FoodTEC, a newly created not-for-profit that will align with the College to provide workforce training and related skills programming in support of the region’s growing food, beverage and hospitality sectors.
Sepulveda, who has 15 years of experience in food and nutrition industries within the private sector, will organize, develop, and implement FoodTEC’s Workforce and Skills initiative. Much of his prior experience has been focused on providing the food manufacturing, retail food service and hospitality industries with customized quality assurance (QA) services.
For the past six years, Sepulveda has also worked as an adjunct instructor in the Continuing Education & Workforce Development departments at CUNY Hostos and Kingsborough Community College, where he taught food service management courses and provided food safety certificate training.
As early as this Fall, Young and Sepulveda expect FoodTEC will kick off a small array of workforce solutions offerings with more programming to ramp up in the Spring. FoodTEC will focus on supporting workforce development opportunities that assist low-income job seekers and workers in obtaining and advancing in jobs that provide sustaining wages and benefits. It will also aid in the economic development of Orange County and its surrounding areas. FoodTEC will use the College’s Tower Building on its Newburgh campus as a training and education hub for employers and employees in Orange County and the Hudson Valley, as well as private sector companies.
In aligning with the College’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025, most of FoodTEC’s programming will be designed to strengthen the region’s economic future by expanding workforce development in emerging innovative fields while also identifying and addressing the needs of an increasingly diverse regional population and workforce,
“The potential for FoodTEC to spark growth in the food, beverage and hospitality sectors within the Hudson Valley, and to create pathways to meaningful and rewarding jobs for area residents, is tremendous. Jhack has great experience, energy and passion for this work, and he is well-suited to take FoodTEC to the great heights we envision,” Young said.
“He’ll help us build upon Orange County’s strength in food manufacturing by leveraging partnerships that will grow workforce development and enable individuals to build and expand the technical and soft skills necessary to secure employment and advance in well-paying and satisfying careers.”
As a dietitian, Sepulveda has spent 10 years supporting behavioral nutrition science research groups at Columbia University and has co-authored published studies on diet and physical activity intervention for Hispanic/Latina breast cancer survivors and diabetes self-management through Personal Informatics Technology for Engagement in Community Health (PI-TECH). Among his food industry clients are Ecolab-Ecosure, Arancini Bros, Guinness World Records, ElderPlan, Univision Television, TODAY Show NBC 4 and numerous food manufacturing start-ups.
“FoodTEC will aim to support economic growth in Orange County, and in particular among area residents, the business community and our SUNY Orange student body,” Sepulveda said. “I plan to engage with many community and business partners to identify service opportunities, programs, activities and partnerships that will enhance the workforce and skill development training and education programming that we will develop in response to the region’s needs.”