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Butchery Program Enrolling for Fall Semester
April 3, 2023

Walters State’s new butchery program is now enrolling students for fall semester.

“I am so excited to move this from the planning stages to the classroom,” Chef Joe Cairns, head of the college’s Maples Institute for Culinary Arts, said. “Some students who are enrolled now plan to pursue butchery and we have received many calls from prospective students.”

Walters State is the first community college in Tennessee to offer a meat-cutting certificate and one of only a few such schools in the state. The butchery program is a one-year, full-time technical certificate. Students may also enroll on a part-time basis.

The program was developed in response to a need for meat cutters as expressed by grocers, farmers, the Tennessee Cattleman’s Association and the Tennessee Beef Industry Council. 

“This program offers intensive hands-on classroom and real-world experience,” Cairns said. “Students will learn everything about the science of meat. We’ll cover genetics, breeding, raising, finishing, processing of different meats, and how specific animals are best marketed and utilized.”

Cairns has been busy ordering equipment and rearranging a few things in the institute. Some butchery classes will be in a cool room. A six-foot circular band saw for cutting meat just arrived.

“This is used to cut large portions of meat. We would begin here if we were splitting a whole animal,” Cairns said. He added that students will receive Occupational Safety and Health Administration training before using these tools. 

Much of the equipment was purchased by a grant from the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education grant initiative through the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. 

The technical certificate in butchery has been approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. An apprenticeship program has been approved by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Tuition for qualified students may be covered by Tennessee Promise, Tennessee Reconnect and other financial aid resources. 
For more information, contact Cairns at 865-774-5816 or