Agriculture is so much more than cows, sows and plows. The industry truly holds opportunity for all potential employees, both rural and urban, as two local urban education directors learned this past week at the Ag Outlook Forum, an event held by the Kansas City Agribusiness Council.
To showcase the opportunities that agriculture affords, each year the Ag Education on the Move™ program hosts Counselor in Ag tours throughout Missouri that focus on agriculture industry connections and career pathways. High school and middle school counselors spend a minimum of two days touring agriculture industry to learn about the diverse career offerings, skill sets each employer is looking for and the educational pathways necessary to pursue each opportunity. The tours focus on both trade and technical education as well as four-year diploma opportunities.
This year, as a unique follow-up for two area urban education leaders, AGI SureTrack (formerly IntelliFarms) and Ag Education on the Move have teamed up to provide sponsorship to attend the Ag Outlook Forum, which provided first-hand insight into the agriculture economy and workforce development.
Dr. Gwen Poss, Director of the Career Education Consortium that serves six Kansas City urban school districts and Metropolitan Community College, and Dr. Cheryl Reichart, Director of the Herndon Career Center, Raytown, attended the event.
The opportunity provided new insight into the agriculture industry, as Poss shared.
“I have not lived in the world of economics, trade and policy as it relates to agriculture. But as an educational leader, I now feel more equipped to have conversations with school districts, building leaders and teachers regarding agriculture employment opportunities for our students.
We must do a better job of communicating with students about careers rather than jobs in agriculture; a career is a series of connected experiences and opportunities, and that is what agriculture can offer our students,” she says.
AGI SureTrack, a supporting partner for both the Ag Outlook Forum and educator sponsorship to attend the Forum, recognizes the value in helping urban educators learn more about agriculture and the viable employment potential it holds for their students.
“Investing in our educators is a win-win for the students they serve and the future industries those students will be employed in. As an agriculture technology company, we know how quickly the industry is changing and the importance of having qualified job applicants looking at the agriculture technology industry as a viable career pathway,” says AGI SureTrack Chief Marketing Officer, Robin Walters.
Now in its third year, the Animal Health Sciences course, offered through Southland CAPS, in cooperation with the Herndon Career Center (HCC), offers students the opportunity to explore career opportunities in animal science beyond veterinary medicine. Reichart hopes to see agriculture programming continue to expand, with plans to add a turf management and horticulture certification in 2020.
“We live in the Animal Health Corridor, and exposure to the agriculture industry is important for our students. As educators, we want our students prepared to not only enter the workforce, but also have a better understanding of the employment opportunities that exist for them. We hope to see our ag program continue to grow,” Reichart says.
To learn more about these partnering organizations visit: