Partnering with Colleges to Grow Your Workforce
15 Jul 2021
Partnerships with local community colleges or technical schools can help agriculture retailers facing difficulties filling open positions with quality candidates. By working with schools, you can grow your own workforce. Create a pipeline of quality applicants that understand your industry and are prepared to work on day one with your software.
Your entire team benefits if new hires start the job understanding the big picture of how your business works and have experience using the software that you use in the office, in the truck, at the blender, and more. The agriculture industry has become less about physical labor and more about technology, which may attract new workers. No longer do entry-level jobs at the local cooperative mean just driving or loading. Technology excites and makes an impression on students looking for a career. Attract both agriculture and non-agricultural background students by focusing on technology. Prepare students by partnering with a school that teaches the technology you use and funnel workers towards your doorstep.
Agvance software started showing up in college ag-tech curriculums over ten years ago. One of the first to include Agvance in their curriculum was Ridgewater College of Willmar, Minnesota. Lyndsay Ampe, Agribusiness Instructor for Ridgewater College, says, "We are constantly looking to make sure that our content is relevant. We are grateful to be partnering with SSI and teaching Agvance." The number of college programs utilizing Agvance in curriculum continues to increase.
Retailers working together with their local colleges can create the workforce they need. For example, Parkland College of Champaign, Illinois utilized a grant for funding and has an advisory board of local agriculture retailers that direct students toward the program to gain the skills they need. Jerry Lighty, Ag Instructor with Parkland College, says that "the students are not experts in Agvance, but the goal is to get them familiar and understand the ag retail business." Utilizing Agvance in real-life scenarios during college courses is preparing students to have the skills sought by ag retailers. When the curriculum includes learning Agvance, they come out of college ready to work.
The employability of students following ag-tech college programs is impressive. These graduates are in demand. Parkland College reports that students in their applicator program see 100% job placement and often benefit from fully paid tuition. Graduates of programs utilizing Agvance in coursework share stories of impressing their new employer with skills, like making a Blend Ticket, and general familiarity with the software.
Read more about how agriculture programs are using Agvance in their curriculum at both Ridgewater College in Willmar, Minnesota, and Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois.