Guest Blogger: McKenzie Baecker, Education Specialist – Advocacy and Government Relations Division, National FFA Organization
Speak in front of a crowd? No problem. Clearly articulate an issue? You got it. Work efficiently as a team? Consider it done.
No matter the task at hand, FFA members have been equipped with the skills necessary to thrive in the workforce. Through hands-on classroom experiences and leadership development conferences, FFA members are provided with opportunities to explore careers in the agriculture industry and interact with other FFA members from across the nation. It doesn’t take long after interacting with FFA members to realize that they are poised and professional. They conduct themselves with respect and confidence, often making them stand out amongst their peers.
Former FFA members reflect on their time in the organization and how it has helped them in their current careers, often highlighting the employability skills and career exploration opportunities provided that they would not have otherwise received. During her time in FFA, Laura Donaldson had the opportunity to interact with a number of companies. She says, “While I was a state FFA officer, we did business and industry visits. And during those visits, I became really interested in agribusiness and the industry side of things. I liked getting to know our FFA sponsors and having conversations with them about careers in agribusiness. That’s what helped me decide to major in agribusiness management.” She now has a successful career with John Deere as a Product Manager.
Matthew McLaughlin describes the skills he gained in FFA and how they transfer over into his current career as a Manager of Service Start-Up and Integration for CSX Transportation. He says, “FFA helped prepare me for my career by helping me to step out of my boundaries. Beginning with my first state convention I could not get enough of it. I honed in on my networking skills and got to experience a variety of different career development events and supervised agricultural experiences. I also believe these experiences helped to make me more well-rounded. There were also numerous leadership positions that I held through FFA, which have set the stage for future roles in college and now in work. All of the team events helped me to understand the different dynamics of different people and sharing a common goal. These skills all transfer over to the workplace and in all aspects of life.”
Whether it is exploring careers in the agriculture industry or honing leadership, communication, and teamwork skills, FFA members are equipped to fill in-demand jobs and go above and beyond the expectations.
Read about AgCareers.com’s relationship with FFA.