High schoolers explore agriculture career options

Bayer’s Travis Franke and Hashem Jaber talk about agribusiness career opportunities with a group of West Middle School 8th Graders. Photo by Jim Elias

Many local and area employers and colleges were set up in the Van Hecke Center last week to meet with the over 400 Muscatine High School and 8th-grade ad students about career options young people could explore in the world of agriculture.

Muscatine 8th Graders explore welding and equipment operations in a John Deere factory using virtual reality simulators. Photo by Jim Elias

“Our goal is to give kids the opportunity to see what kinds of things are available for their future,” said Ashley Wiebe, Muscatine Schools Ag Teacher, during the annual Ag Career and College Fair held last week at Muscatine High School.

“Agriculture is so broad,” said Wiebe, “there’s really a place for everybody.  We want the students to see why this is relevant to them.  Agriculture impacts everyone from what we eat, to what clothes we wear and to even the houses we live in.”

Muscatine Schools use the event to expose students to possible careers in agriculture as well as giving students the ability to make connections for finding internships, employment, and college scholarships.

Local employers participating in the Ag Career and College Fair included Kent Corp, First National Bank, Stanley Consultants, Bayer, Team Staffing Solutions, Sinclair Tractor, and others.  Representatives from the John Deere Davenport Works were also at the event.

Deere employees let students experience through simulators and virtual reality devices what it would be like to be a production welder, a factory machine operator, and even driving John Deere heavy equipment in the field.

Bayer employees Travis Franke and Hashem Jaber coached students about the importance of exploring career interests early. They also explained the impact a potential employees’ social media activity may have on whether or not an employer is interested in hiring an individual.