At the recent American Horse Council (AHC) Annual meeting, attendees heard a proposal regarding the idea of the equine industry building a national network of “hosts” to offer an apprenticeship and/or certificate program to train domestic workers to meet the horse industry’s workforce needs. The rising shortage of documented workers for jobs in the equine industries has created a demand by equine industry employers to seek a new and better approach to finding, assessing, training and certifying a domestic workforce. For too long, many equine industry employers have overly relied on access to a pool of foreign labor under the Federal Government’s H-2B Guest Worker Visa program. In recent years, attempts at reforming the U.S. Immigration System and passing laws to address its shortcomings have failed. Yes, the equine industries – like other industries - must continue to advocate on behalf of its members for a better long-term approach to federal guest worker visas. However, the time has come for stakeholders in the equine industry to create a new domestic national workforce pipeline.
The idea of building such a program has been met with much enthusiasm from all equine sectors including recreation, competition, racing, EAAT, rescues, carriage operators, etc. The AHC has formed a task force 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.
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 legendary Four Sixes Ranch; Bill Scebbi, Chair of Coalition of State Horse Councils; Michael Matz, American race horse trainer and former Olympic equestrian team member; and Laurie Mays, Equine Talent Pipeline Project Manager at Kentucky Chamber Foundation.
AHC is actively seeking grants and collaborating with other organizations to solicit ideas and funding including sources like the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation; Community Colleges & State Land Grant Universities; and US Department of Labor Apprenticeships.
We anticipate some subcommittees may be formed as we identify research and data needs. If you have any interest in being part of this initiative, please contact AHC President Julie Broadway at email@example.com
To assess the current state and demand for equine workers, we have developed a brief survey which will take no more than 5 minutes. We would appreciate your response by no later than September 16th.
About the American Horse Council
As the national association representing all segments of the horse industry in Washington, D.C., the American Horse Council works daily to represent equine interests and opportunities. Organized in 1969, the AHC promotes and protects the industry by communicating with Congress, federal agencies, the media and the industry on behalf of all horse related interests each and every day.
The AHC is member supported by individuals and organizations representing virtually every facet of the horse world from owners, breeders, veterinarians, farriers, breed registries and horsemen's associations to horse shows, race tracks, rodeos, commercial suppliers and state horse councils.
Contact: Julie Broadway
American Horse Council
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