Objective 2: Workforce development

The MEA Center of Excellence will support workforce development experiences for students so that more students pursue agriculture-related studies and careers. Experiential learning opportunities and effective mentoring can provide invaluable support for academic and professional success.

Workplace development activities help students acquire and demonstrate their work readiness to potential employers. Job shadowing and internships also reinforce to students the importance and relevance of their studies.

Mentoring allows university faculty and staff to serve as personal connections, informational resources and professional role models for young adults. Research shows that freshmen assigned to mentors show greater gains in problem solving, goal setting and decision making compared to their non-mentored counterparts. Faculty mentorship programs have been demonstrated to positively impact the transition to college, increase college self-efficacy and overall happiness, and improve research skills.

In addition, peer mentoring can help students adapt more easily to new academic environments. The mentor-mentee relationship gives the mentee a sense of being connected to the larger community, reducing the likelihood that the mentee will drop out or switch programs.

Workforce development opportunities offered by center partners will include seminars on career preparation and planning, career services such as mock interviews and help with resume writing, meetings with industry leaders, and tours of college campuses and USDA and industry facilities.

Objective Leaders

  • Misty Blue-Terry, Ph.D., N.C. A&T
  • Olga Boldon-Tiller, Ph.D., Tuskegee University
  • Adrian Hendricks, Lincoln University