Academic journal article NACTA Journal

Evaluating the Poultry Science Summer Institute (PSSI) as a Recruitment Tool for High School Students from North Carolina Counties to Enter the Prestage Department of Poultry Science 1

Academic journal article NACTA Journal

Evaluating the Poultry Science Summer Institute (PSSI) as a Recruitment Tool for High School Students from North Carolina Counties to Enter the Prestage Department of Poultry Science 1

Article excerpt

Introduction

Recruitment of high school students to poultry science and other agricultural programs has become a vital component in continuing to provide the poultry industry with graduates with degrees in agriculture. In the last 70 years, people have experienced a progression of the chicken from a luxury product to a regular source of protein for most developed nations (Dixon, 2002). The need for professionals in the food and agricultural sciences is projected to increase by 10% by 2020 (Hegerfeld-Baker et al., 2015). Today, 81% of agriculture careers require either a two or four-year degree and 64% of applicants to AgCareers.com in 2015 had an education level of bachelor's degree or higher (AgCareers.com). In addition, more than half (54%) of applicants had agriculture-based post-secondary education (AgCareers.com). Pardue (1990) conducted a survey of poultry science undergraduates at a major land grant university and found that over half of those students surveyed had some previous poultry experience. It concludes that one way to increase enrollment is to introduce and involve students to poultry science before application and admission to college. Various outreach programs have been created to expose high school students to degree programs that they otherwise may not have known about. Collectively they are known as early outreach programs (Loza, 2003). By using these programs to broaden children's (8-18 years old) perspective of agriculture beyond just farming, these early outreach programs encourage students to pursue careers in agriculture (Cotton et al., 2009).

Institutions of higher learning around the United States are considering ways to expand the number of eligible students graduating from high school (Dave et al., 2010). Dyer and Breja (2003) found that the teachings of agricultural education and production had historically been aimed at rural, white males from an agricul- tural background. Due to the projected increase for the professionals this prior pool of recruits is not enough. Agricultural programs also need to recruit female, urban, and minority youth (Alston and Westbrook, 2006). Millions of students attend residential summer camps each year (Ventura and Garst, 2013), which can be used to improve academic preparation and college readiness (Swail and Perna, 2002). Yilmaz et al. (2010) found that summer camps are an effective tool for recruiting students to STEM majors. Agricultural recruitment can be difficult because of the general public's view of agriculture as the "study of 'cows, sows, and plows'" (Beyl et al., 2016, p. 51). However, modern agriculture encompasses a wide array of specializations and it is important to eliminate and replace the current myth about agriculture with a durable understanding of the science in technology that is modern agriculture (Beyl et al., 2016).

Many industry partners and associations support university outreach and recruitment programs. They are motivated to help universities increase enrollment, train and develop students to All positions within in the industry. US Poultry and Egg Association, formed in 1947, is the world's largest and most active poultry organization and created a program to provide funds to poultry science and other agriculture departments for student recruitment (USpoultry.org). The Prestage Department of Poultry Science at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC is a recipient of a portion of these donations and used these funds to establish the Poultry Science Summer Institute.

Recruitment to the poultry industry can be difficult because of the general public's perception of the poultry industry. Rudd and Smick-Attisano (1995) found that perception of the discipline of agricultural sciences and attitudes toward it may be negatively impacted if exposure to the discipline is absent or deficient. Chamblee (2007) stated that "Young people simply do not understand the science and technology involved in producing poultry meat and eggs, nor do they have any concept of the science involved in genetics and breeding, nutrition, incubation and hatching, environmental issues or processing. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.