The National FFA Organization, Discovery Education and AgCareers.com are working together to prepare the next generation for careers in agriculture. Collectively they have created a website, AgExplorer.com, that offers comprehensive career resources that allow students to explore a wide range of job choices.
“We’re excited to introduce this transformational resource that will allow students to explore the 235 unique careers in agriculture,” said Joshua Bledsoe, chief operating officer of the National FFA Organization. “FFA is uniquely positioned to provide the foundation of the talent pipeline for the agricultural industry. In addition to engaging our students and supporting our teachers, AgExplorer.com will help us tell our story and the story of agriculture to the world. Together, we can all strengthen the future of agriculture.”
In the next five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that the industry of agriculture will have more than 60,000 job openings annually, and an estimated 22,500 of those openings will not have highly skilled graduates to fill them. In 2015, AgCareers.com hosted nearly 78,000 job postings in the U.S. alone. AgExplorer is the tool students can use to explore this industry and see what career is the best fit for them.
FFA and AgCareers.com began by working with industry leaders to identify 235 unduplicated careers within the field and then developed a profile for each one. The careers are linked to two- and four-year colleges and universities that offer some type of agriculture degree. Additionally AgCareers.com validates a salary using their Compensation Benchmark Review tool; a service that will be continue to be monitored as part of the project.
“I am constantly searching for ways to better engage my students and expose them to diverse career pathways. AgExplorer gives me the tools to connect my students to real opportunities in the agricultural industry,” said Patti Grammens, a teacher at Lakeside Middle School in Georgia’s Forsyth County Schools. “AgExplorer will give all teachers, even those without agricultural experience, the resources to get students excited about careers they may have otherwise not considered. I am looking forward to using this program in my classroom this year.”
The site also offers nine videos, each featuring an agricultural pathway and explain how these careers are part of feeding the world. The Career Finder is a tool that allows students to take an interactive assessment to match their interest with a possible career.
“Discovery Education is proud to partner with the National FFA Organization to offer classrooms nationwide an array of dynamic, digital resources that help connect real-world STEM applications to a variety of potential agricultural career paths,” said Lori McFarling, senior vice president of Discovery Education. “We are dedicated to preparing students to be college and career ready, and AgExplorer will help achieve this mission by connecting students’ interests and academic strengths to a broad array of promising careers in today’s rapidly growing agriculture industry.”