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Ohio Ag Groups Lunch 'Futures Grow Here'
Ohio Ag Connection - 11/06/2019

Ohio food and farming companies have launched a workforce development initiative designed to help propel people into the state's agriculture industry.

The initiative, Future Grows Here, seeks to connect potential workers with career opportunities in the field and working with technical programs and career centers to spread information about potential options.

Futures Grow Here recently launched a website in which potential job seekers can:

- Explore innovative and rewarding job opportunities in areas, including technology and computers, logistics, construction, electrician, plumbing, mechanics, welding, equipment operator, and animal management

- Read case studies on individuals who have been successful in their positions

- Learn about what the future of the industry looks like, and

- Get connected to other resources and organizations with job opportunities.

"The focus of Futures Grow Here is to demonstrate the opportunities that are available for young adults in food production and agriculture," said Jim Chakeres, executive vice president of the Ohio Poultry Association, a supporting organization of Futures Grow Here. "The initiative reframes the narrative around these jobs, creates excitement for them, and engages a broader and more diverse group of job seekers."

According to the 2019 Food and Agriculture Industries Economic Impact Study, more than one-fifth of the nation's economy and one-fourth of all jobs are linked to the food and agriculture sectors. Further, a focus group and research conducted by Futures Grow Here found that young adults consistently prioritize the ability to learn and contribute to the betterment of society and the environment when looking for career opportunities.

"By 2050, more than 9 billion people will need 70 [percent] more food, which will need to be produced using fewer resources," Bryan Humphreys, the Ohio Pork Council executive vice president, said in a statement published by Ohio's Country Journal. The Ohio Pork Council is one of the initiative's backers.

"As a top producer of many agricultural goods, like pork, eggs, soybeans and wheat, Ohio is a major contributor to the foods that are exported to families all over the world," Humphreys said. "That is why it's essential that our food production and farming companies have a steady, skilled workforce to ensure long-term stability of the industry and economy."

Some of the career paths that are in high demand in the industry are technology and computers, logistics, construction, electricians, plumbing, mechanics and others, according to the initiative's website. Some fields require four-year degrees, but others do not.

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