The in depth training of technicians that are highly motivated in their dedication to the humane care and maintenance of animals has been added to the lineup of Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s workforce-development driven career academies. The first Animal Technician Academy will begin on March 18, with graduation set for April 25. The Animal Technician Academy is a pre-employment training program that prepares students with the basic knowledge and skills to provide humane handling and overall care for animals. This initial class is limited to 12 enrollees. Over the six-week period, students will gain a basic knowledge in all aspects of animal technology including basic anatomy and physiology, identification methods, humane care and maintenance, health and observation, handling techniques, biosecurity, record keeping and medical terminology. In addition, students will gain skills in effective communication, workplace safety, critical thinking and employability. Hands-on training is species specific and taught by highly qualified personnel. Successful completion of the academy prepares students for an entry-level position as a lab-animal technician within a research or laboratory facility. Classes will be held Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the KVCC Groves Campus, while the lab training will be based at the MPI Research training facility in partnership with the organization’s training and development department. Acceptance into the growing number of KVCC career academies is competitive and is based on a written application, feedback from references, math and reading assessment, interviews, and background screening. Those who complete the animal-tech academy requirements will receive a certificate of completion and a transcript of competency. As with all academy programs, training will be provided to enhance employability skills as well. The fee is $900. Financial assistance is available through Michigan job training assistance programs, Kalamazoo Promise, and Veteran’s Benefits. Entry-level wages can range from $19,000 to $25,000 annually. An experienced animal technician can earn from $25,000 to $41,000 per year. Before establishing an academy, the college engages focus groups to determine whether there are jobs to be filled, and a need for trained applicants. For details about applications, deadlines and other information, call (269) 353-1253, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or go to:Training.