WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, Sept. 16, Farm Credit, furthering its efforts to increase diversity and inclusion, hosted a virtual career and internship fair for students and recent graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Participants from HBCUs across the country connected with employees from 33 Farm Credit institutions to learn about the unique careers available in the Farm Credit system. Attendance increased 24 percent from last year’s event. and engaged one another in a virtual booth while discussing careers, including internships in finance, marketing, accounting, IT and more.
“AgSouth is proud to participate in the HBCU Career Fair to provide opportunity and access to students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” said Khandis Mainer, HR Generalist at AgSouth Farm Credit. “This event allows for AgSouth to live up to our commitment to diversity and inclusion, while creating changes for talented individuals from all backgrounds to have access to experiences and networking in the Farm Credit system. At AgSouth we believe that diversity is a strength, and appreciate the opportunity to continue to grow this important part of our association’s values.”
In addition to hosting the career fair, the Farm Credit Council supports HBCU’s through an internship stipend program designed to entice job seekers and career fair attendees to consider opportunities in the Farm Credit System. The Launching Leaders program offers a $3,500 stipend to any HBCU student or recent graduate who interns with a Farm Credit institution and is in addition to the wages interns receive for their work.
Last year, Khalen Robinson was hired to be an intern at Alabama AgCredit and received Farm Credit’s Launching Leaders stipend to offset her living expenses. Robinson, a Tuskegee University graduate from Birmingham, Ala., was introduced to the Farm Credit system through a MANRRS, Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences, conference in Kansas City.
“Sometimes, I'm still in shock that this is really my life,” Khalen said. “My internship at Alabama AgCredit lead to my current position here as a credit analyst trainee. I was also a recipient of the Launching Leaders stipend, and it was just an overall amazing experience.”
Khalen said she encourages fellow HBCU students and graduates to consider careers in agriculture even if they were not raised on a farm. Khalen said she did not have an agriculture background but was encouraged to consider an agriculture degree her senior year of high school. So, her advice to HBCU job seekers and career fair attendees is to network and keep an open mind.
“The opportunities are endless,” Khalen said. “Even though I'm in Alabama, I know that no matter where I go, there will always be a Farm Credit institution where I know I can fit in. And I know the people I work with will be there for me throughout my career.”
The Launching Leaders program and HBCU job fair are part of Farm Credit’s commitment to the HBCU Partnership Challenge, a public pledge through which organizations commit to creating or deepening relationships with HBCUs with a goal of recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce from these institutions.
Farm Credit supports rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services, today and tomorrow. It has been fulfilling its mission of helping rural America grow and thrive for more than a century with the capital necessary to make businesses successful and by financing vital infrastructure and communication services. For more information visit www.farmcredit.com.