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June 23, 2016

WG’s New Careers in Ag Program Links STEM Education to Ag Workforce

With 60,000 job openings annually in agriculture and only 35,000 graduates available to fill them, Western Growers is helping fill the workforce gap with its newly-launched Careers in Ag Program. This career pathways program introduces college students to the educational pathways—courses, majors, internships—that lead to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers within the agricultural industry. 

The program looks to 1) encourage students to pursue and apply their STEM-related degrees toward a career in agriculture and 2) facilitate career placement between students and agricultural organizations.

“Western Growers is helping to lead the effort in building a highly-skilled agricultural workforce and shaping the next generation of ag pioneers,” said Tom Nassif, president & CEO of Western Growers. “With the global population reaching 9.3 billion within the next 30 years, the agriculture industry will be growing at an even faster pace. We are going to need a skilled, knowledgeable and innovative future workforce to help feed the world.”

Western Growers partnered with Cal Poly Pomona and UC Davis to bring forth the first cohort of students to participate in the program on June 13-15, 2016 in Salinas and other locations in Monterey County. A total of sixteen students met with agricultural companies that offered STEM-related career opportunities, as well as connected one-on-one with successful agricultural professionals in the STEM field. Images from the first Careers in Ag tour can be found on the WG Facebook.

Following the success of the initial cohort, Western Growers plans to offer the program multiple times a year in different locations throughout California and Arizona. If any member companies are interested in hosting a tour or have internship/career opportunities for STEM students, please contact Stephanie Thara at (949) 885-2256. 

More details about the program can be found in the official Careers in Ag Program press release or fact sheet.