Let’s face the facts: Going to work in the protein-production industry is not on any publication’s list of the “Top 10 hottest job opportunities” for recent college grads.
Just think about your own conversations with friends and family about our industry. Although I’ve been in the poultry industry for over 30 years, my siblings, despite my efforts to the contrary, think “poultry live production” consists of taking a bucket of feed into the backyard and letting chickens scratch at it!
Yet, a common theme I hear from members, over and over, is, “Help us find qualified graduates, now!”
So what do we do? How do we let recent graduates know not only of the demand we have for their skills, but also the availability of a broad slate of challenging, technology-driven career opportunities in our industry?
I wish I knew all the answers, but let’s start by referencing an earlier article I wrote in this space in September 2012. Our industry needs to “Grab a Mic” and intensify efforts on making college students and younger generations aware of the opportunities available in the poultry industry! We, as advocates of our industry and in our own sphere of influence, need to grab that mic.
At the 2013 International Production & Processing Expo, Tyson Foods hired about 24 students through U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s College Student Career Program. Going forward, Tyson Foods has tasked us with the mission of providing a diversity of students for recruitment in two ways: (1) diversity in majors (IT, Finance, Marketing, Business, etc.), and (2) diversity in population so that the students reflect the population as a whole.
As an industry, we all have a role to play in getting more college students into the poultry industry. And at USPOULTRY, we are committed to the following.
- Doubling the number of students participating in the College Student Career Program
- Devoting time to FFA, 4-H, and other youth programs to inform students of the opportunities available in our industry
- mplementing a co-op program to reach majors not related to the poultry and agriculture industries
We need a new way of thinking! All of what we are doing will not work, but some things will. The students we recruit today could become our leaders of tomorrow. Without them, we will not have a poultry and egg industry.
About this feature :
Poultry Perspectives is a quarterly column in The National Provisioner written by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.