Production Education Scholarships Available for BIPOC Cidermakers

Education and professional development are essential means to advance the knowledge, techniques, resources, personal development, and networking opportunities that help individuals thrive in the cider – or any other – industry. Yet there are barriers to entry in professional programs that include finances, mentorship, and racial and ethnic representation.

To address access to and funding for cider education, CINA recently announced the Cider Production Education Fund for aspiring and current cider makers of color. This Fund was established to support the educational goals of people who are currently marginalized or underrepresented in the cider industry by reducing financial barriers.

The Education Fund will offer tuition-free education covering the fundamental aspects of cider production through CINA’s flagship training, Cider & Perry Production – A Foundation, which is designed for individuals who are new to or interested in commercial cider and perry production. This year, CINA’s staff and training providers developed an online version of the Foundation course, the first-of-its-kind intensive introduction to cider and perry production offered virtually. The modular training teaches the science and art of orcharding and production, and features guest speakers from the industry during weekly synchronous sessions. By offering this class online, CINA is able to adapt to the schedules of participants new to or curious about the cider industry.

“Online learning and scholarship opportunities are key ways to increase the accessibility of cider production education and jump-start the careers of professional cidermakers,” shared Brighid O’Keane, the Executive Director of the Cider Institute of North America. “Our hope is to address diversity and inclusion in the industry by making access to training and professional resources more equitable.”

The Cider Institute has partnered with cider businesses and associations to raise funds for the Cider Production Education Fund to support BIPOC interested in the advancement of their careers in the cider industry. “The cider industry is an important part of the Main Street economy and the emerging craft beverage movement. It is vital that we are an inclusive industry as we continue to grow,” shared Ed McGrath from the California Cider Association, whose member cideries raised nearly $1200 which will be matched dollar-for-dollar by CINA. In addition, the American Cider Association will contribute proceeds from VIP package sales to CiderCon®, the industry’s annual conference.

To reflect the goal of reducing barriers to the industry, CINA has worked to make the scholarship application process as streamlined as possible. The link to a short form is available at www.ciderinstitute.com/scholarship and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis for courses offered in 2021. The fund will award at least 3 tuition-free scholarships including all course materials. The winter term for Cider & Perry Production – A Foundation will run from February 10 through May 26, 2021. To qualify for funds, applicants must identify as Black, Indigenous, or Latin X and be 21 years of age or older. Applicants ideally have an interest or intention to work in the orcharding or production side of the cider industry.

Scholarships are available to individuals either at the beginning of their career in the cider industry or looking to continue their education and cider making experience. Learn more, contribute to the fund, or apply for a scholarship at www.ciderinstitute.com/scholarship.

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