Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation names Youth Pathways grant recipient

Leveraging the resources of the Fisher Fund for Lifelong Learning, Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation launched a Youth Pathways initiative in 2018, focused on introducing students to and training them for careers in food, agricultural and environmental sciences. Each year, organizations throughout the state are invited to submit proposals for innovative projects that would help to address the need to attract more young people to careers in these fields.

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation is proud to announce that the Junior Achievement Virtual Inspire Career Exploration Fair is the 2022 recipient of the Youth Pathways for Careers in Agriculture Grant. A total of $100,000 will assist this nonprofit as it develops programming that will prepare students for post-secondary training or direct placement in food, agricultural and environmental sciences industries.

“You would be hard pressed to find an initiative that lines up as closely with the mission of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation as the Junior Achievement Virtual Inspire Career Exploration Fair does,” said Tara Durbin, senior vice president agricultural lending with Farm Credit Mid-America and president of the OFB Foundation. “We look forward to being a part of this project to show a new generation of workforce all of the amazing opportunities that Ohio agriculture has in store for them.”

Junior Achievement Virtual Inspire Career Exploration Fair takes the traditional career fair model and turns it into a massive career exploration program focused on building a talented pipeline of professionals for the future, utilizing a virtual platform. Volunteers share information about their businesses and/or jobs, and students ask questions as the speakers or students rotate from station to station. The project also brings together the four major JA areas of Ohio, which cover approximately 75% of the state or 66 out of 88 counties, to prioritize a statewide content sharing initiative focused on agriculture and environmental sciences careers.

“A portion of the grant will support the hiring of a full-time professional that is dedicated to building relationships with organizations within the agriculture and environmental sciences industry across the state of Ohio,” said Josh Lehman, COO of Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio. “This individual will work exclusively with Ohio Farm Bureau to build relationships with industry partners and to ensure accurate representation of agriculture and its related careers. We can’t thank the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation enough for seeing the potential this program offers the future leaders of Ohio agriculture.”

The Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation is committed to inspiring and educating the next generation of farmers, ensuring the progress and prosperity of Ohio agriculture far into the future. The foundation creates pathways for young people to learn about the variety and viability of careers in agriculture. Through scholarships, programming and grants, the foundation builds a growing workforce of farmers who are passionate and prepared to grow Ohio agricultural communities.

To learn more about the foundation, visit ofbf.org/foundation.

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