The Work Experience Program
Why We Do It:
Whichever Agribusiness and Technology Program an individual is enrolled in, one thing is certain: he or she has the opportunity to engage in an employment experience each semester. Few programs in the state offer this distinct advantage to students.
In an ever-changing agribusiness environment, the employment experience is as vital a component as classroom theory. Students experience life, not laboratory assignments. This experience is the foundation for building a successful career.
Where They Do It:
Employment experience is an opportunity for students to customize their education. Students have the opportunity to gain experience in a variety of areas including animal or crop production, agricultural chemicals, farm management, horticulture, or something completely different. Students work where they want to work and the learning opportunities are almost limitless. MCC Agriculture Science and Technology Program advisors assist the students in making their employment choices so that each student can achieve his/her own desired goals and objectives. Examples of where students work include:
- The home farming operation
- A relative's farming operation
- A neighbor's farming operation
- A local farming or livestock operation
- Livestock buying station
- Dairy farm
- Production-seed plant
- Fertilizer, chemical mixing & application, and retail business
- Feed and grain retail business
- Greenhouse or landscaping operation
- Lawn care business
- Produce farm
The choices are endless. And the employment experience is conducted during the most critical times of the agricultural year…spring and fall.
The three distinct advantages of the employment experience component of the programs can be summed up this way:
First and foremost, students gain the necessary agricultural experience needed to compete in a highly competitive production industry. Our employers strive to allow students to experience every possible situation and to learn the importance of all production issues. Whether it is power washing a swine nursery for one day or attending a meeting with a farmer in a banker's office, our employers act as the educator during the employment experience.
Secondly, students earn college credit toward their degree. Even though students do not attend class while employment experience is in session, it IS a class; and students have certain obligations and duties to fulfill. Weekly worksheets are completed and sent to the college on a scheduled basis. These worksheets inform the ag faculty what duties the students were assigned, the hours worked, and any other information required by the college. At the end of the work session, employers evaluate the student, and the student evaluates his/her own individual performance. A grade is then assigned using this important information.
Last but not least, students earn while they learn. In the case of a family operation, the college does not require a student to be paid a wage, but if the student works elsewhere, employers are required to pay students for their services. We look at it this way: the employer is gaining the services of a student to meet labor needs during busy times of the year. The employer is directly benefiting from the situation and, in turn, the student earns a wage for services provided.
Our students earn, on average, $3,600 during the fall work experiences and practically double that total during the spring sessions. What this means to the student is that work experience is a method of offsetting the cost of tuition, books, fees, housing, and so forth. (Note: This figure is based on working a 60-hour week and is an average.)