AHC workforce survey seeks input on horse industry labor needs
The American Horse Council is asking horse industry participants to take a survey about labor and workforce needs. • Photo by Molly Montag.

Group Seeks Input on Equine Industry Workforce Needs

The American Horse Council (AHC) is asking horse industry participants to take a survey assessing labor and workforce needs in the equine world.

At the recent 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.

Workforce shortage

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 to reform the U.S. Immigration System and pass laws to address its shortcomings have failed. 

New Labor Pool

Officials from the AHC say while the equine industry – like other industries – must continue to advocate on behalf of its members for a better long-term approach to federal guest worker visas; 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.

AHC Workforce Survey

To assess the current state and demand for equine workers, the AHC developed a brief survey, which officials say will take no more than 5 minutes.  Responses must be submitted by Sept. 16.

Click here to take the survey.

Members of the AHC’s 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.

The AHC is also 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.

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