Sixteen interns who are working for Farm Credit Services of Mid-America this summer are solving this problem by taking advantage of the opportunity to work and learn in a real work environment with mentors and professionals in their respective fields of study.
The opportunity is a major step in preparing college students to enter the world of life after college.
Kimberly King, one of the group of 16 interns, is working out of the Athens office this summer.
A native of Greenback, she is a rising senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She is majoring in food science and technology and plans to graduate in May 2012.
According to Ashley Searles, recruitment specialist for Farm Credit, the internship allows college students to apply, practically, the skills they are learning in college.
“They are getting a firsthand look at what a lending officer does for Farm Credit and can apply what they’ve learned in a real-life situation,” she said.
As interns, the 16 students are assigned mentors who guide them through the components of the lending business and help with career objectives.
King is participating in many aspects of the lending business, including attending sales meetings and completing specialized projects. Kimberly is completing a marketing project looking to advertise the competitive rates Farm Credit Services has to offer as well as meeting with Farm Credit scholarship recipients and assisting with events in the office.
Interns also attend a retreat where the group participates together in team building exercises and has time to interact and get to know one another. The intern retreat will be in Indiana this year, one of the four states served by Farm Credit Services of Mid-America. The other states served by the company are Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio.
While in Indiana interns will tour several large agribusinesses corporations to learn about the diverse agriculture operations that Farm Credit services.
This year they will be touring Beck’s Hybrids, an independent, family owned seed company that is has been producing dependable seed since 1937, along with Horizon Wind Energy. Based in Houston, this wind farm is just one of the 27 Horizon operate across North America. The Reynolds, Ind., Bio-Town Program, whose long-term goal is to completely meet the needs of Reynolds with biorenewable resources, is also on the docket.
“Certainly job experience is one benefit of Farm Credit’s college intern program,” said Shane Williams, financial services officer with Farm Credit Services, who is mentoring King.
“But the interns also get the added benefit of interesting research projects, cross-training, and many networking opportunities with other interns through Farm Credit’s four-state area.”
The opportunity to network and have a better understanding of what people do in the field of finance were motivating factors for this set of interns.
And like many Farm Credit interns before, the experience may help them decide to enter the world of agricultural finance after they complete college.