Podcast spotlights Nebraska U's success in growing ag workforce
University of Nebraska–Lincoln success in growing a skilled agricultural workforce is featured in the most recent episode of the "Leading Nebraska" podcast.
Launched by University of Nebraska Central Administration, the podcast episode features alumna Toni Rasmussen and faculty member Matt Kreifels.
Agriculture is Nebraska’s No. 1 industry, supporting one out of every four jobs statewide. Those jobs aren’t only in farming and ranching, but also in business, science, technology and other related fields. And, University of Nebraska–Lincoln faculty, staff, students and alumni are helping to lead the way in filling the state’s critical workforce needs.
“When it comes down to it, we need the best and the brightest students to fill those positions within agriculture, because of the critical need that this planet has for the right people to be making the right decisions with our natural resources and also have the ability to feed a growing world population,” said Kreifels, associate professor of practice in the Department of Agriculture, Leadership, Education and Communication.
“There are very few professions where we get to make magic happen to fill an economic need, to equip an industry, but also to help students find a passion and find their futures and chart their courses.”
After graduation, Nebraska-native Toni Rasmussen began her teaching career in Wayne, where she launched an ag education program for high schoolers. Similar efforts are in place in schools across the state; last fall almost 200 Nebraska schools offered ag education classes, the majority of which were led by Husker graduates.
“There’s a ton of opportunity for students not only in Wayne, but across the state and across the nation, either in production ag, or ag business, or food science,” Rasmussen said. “It’s not only being a farmer, which is great, and a lot of kids are headed that way. But there’s a lot more you can do and act on, and we need that talent.”
NU Central Administration launched the “Leading Nebraska” podcast this fall to share stories of researchers, students and educators across the system who are growing the state’s workforce and quality of life. New episodes of “Leading Nebraska” will be released monthly and will feature experts from the four university in the NU system. Topics include nursing, agricultural education, counterterrorism, healthcare, K-12 education, workforce development and cybersecurity.