FVC Hosts First Veteran Career Fair at CSU Fresno
Agriculturally focused veterans and more than 20 employers from the public and private sector came together April 19 at the Farmer Veteran Coalition Veteran Career Fair held aboard California State University, Fresno, to introduce veterans to career opportunities throughout California’s $47 billion agricultural industry.
United States Department of Agriculture, Veterans Affairs, AgrAbility and Food Commons Fresno, were among the employers who met with veterans to educate them on career paths within their organization as well as how their services can assist those who are seeking self-employment by starting their own farming operation.
“We met a lot of veterans at our Career Fair–some who grew up around farms and others who were brand new to it–that will be great assets to our agricultural industry,” said FVC Executive Director Michael O’Gorman. “They’re able to combine Ag degrees and tech savvy with the work ethic and determination they got through their military service.”
One such employer, Farm Credit, was on hand to discuss their open positions while also providing information about the various types of loans available to veterans who are seeking capital to start their own farm.
Veterans who attended the career fair represented a wide-range of service eras and goals for their farming careers. Vietnam-era Army veteran Derek Robinson came to the event to learn about services available to him for his farming operation. Robinson, a Madera City Councilmember, wasn’t previously familiar with FVC, but is looking forward to becoming Homegrown By Heroes certified and applying for a Farmer Veteran Fellowship in the future.
For attendee Neil Morgan, who served two deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a member of the Coast Guard, the career fair was an opportunity to see what kind of employment opportunities might be on the horizon after finishing his degree in mechanical engineering at Fresno State.
“I like to keep abreast of what’s going on in the ag employment world,” said Morgan. “Mechanical engineering touches the agricultural industry in a number of areas, so I wanted to see what opportunities might be available to me when I graduate.”
The fair, which was made possible thanks to a grant provided by the Safeway Foundation and support from Farm Credit, was the first of four events planned in California through 2018. Details for the next Veteran Career Fair will be announced in the coming weeks.