WG Goes All in for Agtech Workforce Development

By Stephanie Metzinger A griculture has a shortage of labor to perform key functions such as harvesting, weeding and thinning. This decades-long labor shortage is exacerbated by the lack of immigration reform and an aging workforce. As a result, there is a critical need for leading-edge innovation from startups, established agtech equipment makers and solution providers. As the world’s skilled agtech entrepreneurs and technology experts invent solutions, the industry will need to transition the current ag workforce to master this new technology. This next generation of tech-savvy ag workers will need to be adept in everything from agriculture and agronomy to data

the skills and knowledge to navigate up-and-coming technology on the farm. WG maintains numerous initiatives aimed at transitioning the agriculture workforce to master rapidly developing agricultural technology: Careers in Ag This career pathways program encourages college students to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers within the agricultural industry. As part of the program, college students embark on three-day tours of agricultural and technology operations in Monterey County, the Central Valley, the Coachella and Imperial valleys, and Yuma, Arizona. Throughout the tour, they learn about the vast array of STEM jobs available in the industry, meet ag professionals who provide career insight and guidance and connect with WG members to possibly pursue an internship or job within their operation. More than 250 students from UC Davis, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State L.A., Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Fresno State and numerous California community colleges have participated in the program to date, with several having been placed in internships and jobs as a direct result of the program. AgTechX Ed WG teamed with Karen Ross, California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary, to launch a statewide initiative aimed

analytics and logic. Western Growers (WG) is going “all in” to meet the future workforce needs and is leading the charge on cultivating a workforce that has



Western Grower & Shipper | www.wga.com

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