Students from 31 universities nationwide convened in Atlanta recently for the USPOULTRY Foundation College Student Career Program, held in conjunction with the 2022 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE). Nearly 500 university students and human resource managers and recruiters from 21 companies participated in the program. The College Student Career Program is the most efficient and effective way for the poultry industry to find managers of the future and has been a vital part of many companies’ hiring process for nearly 50 years. It is one of the largest career events of its kind for students seeking professions in the industry.

The College Student Career Program officially kicked off with a keynote address by Kendall Layman, managing director of Global IT and Global Marketing for Cobb-Vantress, who shared knowledge learned throughout his career. Early in the address, Layman encouraged students by stating, “Although you might have interests outside of poultry science, the poultry industry can still be a home for you. The poultry industry needs finance people, HR people, marketing people, IT people and lab people.”

Layman also shared his story of how he came to be in the poultry industry and how being purposeful with words and actions is crucial to career success. Describing purpose as “knowing the words you say before you say them and knowing the actions you are going to do before you do them,” Layman emphasized the importance of making calm, purposeful decisions rather than quick, emotional responses. Being present in the moment, or “where your feet are,” is another way that Layman described this approach. The students were left with five pieces of advice to carry with them:

  • Start each day thankful for what you have.
  • Always be present.
  • Failures happen and plans change, and both are valuable learning experiences.
  • Have purpose in everything you say and do.
  • Finish the job.

The International Student Program also brought in 14 students and advisors from seven universities in Latin America for a specialized program that enabled the students to discuss job opportunities with companies that have Latin American operations.