Friday is part one of a two part program designed to show high school students, and the counselors, teachers, and administrators that educate and mentor them, how they can participate in vocational agriculture and ag related industries. And yes, that includes a field in short supply, teachers with knowledge and ability to teach ag based curriculums in school.
SACKMANN: There are a number of ag teachers who are coming so hopefully they will be able to take back to their students the diversity of agriculture. So just to open up more opportunities and see there are different parts of agriculture available to them, and really we're trying to encourage knowledge in general.
Jamie Sackmann is the program organizer, a member of the Washington State Farm Bureau and a Big Bend Community College instructor. The name of the program is "Go Ag" sponsored by Farm Bureau, in conjunction with Big Bend and Walla Walla Community Colleges. And she says registration for Friday's program in Moses Lake is already full.
SACKMANN: Teachers coming from as far as Mount Vernon and Pasco, Dayton, quite a few from the Moses Lake area, Mattawa. We'll have eight different professional technical programs, careers represented. And they'll have the opportunity to learn about those careers in terms of & do you have that career, what do you do? How much do you make? What kind of training do you need? And how does that all fit into the big picture of agriculture?
A follow up program in February will involve students who will get that same variety of information, and ideas how best to approach a career path in ag or an ag related field.
SACKMANN: And in high school you may not think about this but then a couple of years later many people realize that they want to come home and live where they grew up and where their families are. Yet they sometimes look at a community and ask where the jobs are and this is a great opportunity to show them where the jobs are because they're certainly here, it's a matter of making sure that you have the training so you are eligible for them.
The concept of "Go Ag" is already picking up interest among various entities in Washington State, and has the promise of expansion in coming years.
SACKMANN: Some of the thoughts that have come across are moving it to different locations and different community colleges because across the state, there are community colleges that offer ag programs as well as some of the related professional technical. We've also had a lot of interest from teachers and Farm Bureau members from the west side, so that's may be something that we look at further.
Sackmann says school districts interested in the "Go Ag" program, or in February's student based program in Moses Lake, can contact her at (509) 349-2382.