GROWMARK would like to see more of their interns to choose a full-time career at the cooperative after completing the internship experience.
The Exploring Agriculture program is geared towards community college students and those with an interest in the operational side of GROWMARK’s business. This year a total of 32 interns joined that program, being placed throughout the cooperative’s core territory of Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. Some completed internships as a part of the spring class and others are working through the summer. The Exploring Agriculture program is in its sixth year, and it’s growing.
GROWMARK also hired 41 students for its traditional internship program, with six working at the home office and the rest spread throughout the core territory this summer. Interns work in a variety of areas including agronomy, energy, accounting, finance, marketing, communication and human resources. Students are usually given a specific project to focus on in addition to daily responsibilities.
“It gives them something to work on outside of their actual tasks and day to day things that they can kind of own,” said Kayla Portwood, university relations manager. “It’s something that’s of a business need to GROWMARK or their member company or retail division, which is exciting for them because they’re actually contributing to real world work that their companies need, and it’s of value to the company and to the interns.”
One of the company’s goals right now is to increase the conversion rate of interns to full-time employees. By 2020, the cooperative hopes to hire 40 percent of interns into full-time positions each year. Currently, 26 percent of last year’s interns are working at GROWMARK full-time. The Exploring Agriculture program has a higher conversion rate because many students are graduating right after the internship experience or have already graduated when they completed the internship.
Portwood said GROWMARK is also recruiting more students without an agriculture background, as they can learn many aspects of agriculture and the other skills required on the job.
Learn more in this interview – Interview with Kayla Portwood, GROWMARK