DES MOINES- At a conference literally packed with the agricultural industry's future leaders, the Pork Checkoff introduced PorkSquare - a website, driven by the innovation and real-time nature of social media, connecting young agriculture professionals with internships and training.
"For some time, the National Pork Board has bounced around the concept of a youth careers website - one focused specifically on the pork industry," said Bryn Jensson, producer outreach marketing manager for Pork Checkoff. "After hours of brainstorming, ideation and discussing the purpose and options, PorkSquare emerged as an ideal way to combine the best of all our ideas."
Moving beyond the concept of simply a job bank, PorkSquare is a virtual town square where internship and scholarship seekers and companies can connect.
"As we created the website, we also generated a lot of enthusiasm about its future and began to understand just how instrumental it could become in meeting the needs of both students, professionals and pork-related companies," said Jensson.
The mission of the Pork Checkoff is to harness the resources of its pork producers to capture opportunity, address challenges and satisfy customers. PorkSquare specifically meets those needs by helping young people - ages 15 to 25 - with a long-term interest in a career in the pork industry. The website, located at www.porksquare.com , is a one-stop shop for training, education growth and internship information regarding the pork industry.
"We see PorkSquare as more than a place to find an internship, but rather as a vehicle to build relationships between young professionals and industry leaders, and prospect for internships, scholarships, mentoring programs and pork-related events," said Mark Greenwood, senior vice president relationship management with AgStar Financial Services.
High school and college students can use PorkSquare to create personal profiles that are visible to employers with internships or scholarship sponsors. These profiles allow the young professional to share information about themselves beyond that of a traditional resume, providing hiring managers with a complete image of a candidate. By including a photo, personal interests, social media links and more, employers can get a better feel for the background of an internship candidate.
Companies with a particular focus on the pork industry can also create profiles that students can readily search, allowing them a better sense of what a certain company offers. By building a company profile that includes internships, scholarships, events and position and news updates, potential candidates can be kept apprised of the changes and opportunities the company offers.
"We are confident that PorkSquare will be a great tool offered at a great time for our industry," said Jensson. "Over time, we will add helpful features to the site and highlight the opportunities the growing swine industry has to offer. Our goal is to keep these young pork professionals interested, engaged and aware of all our industry has to offer."
PorkSquare was developed with the support of its partners including the Pork Checkoff, AgStar Financial Services, Indiana Pork, Iowa Pork Producers Association, and the North Carolina Pork Council.