To encourage young people to consider a career in the pork industry, the Pork Checkoff debuted PorkSquare, a website that connects youth with internships and training.
PorkSquare, found at porksquare.com, is and interactive, social-media driven website that focuses on young professionals interested in careers in the pork industry. The website, geared for ages 15 to 25 years, serves as a "one-stop-shop" for educational growth and job information.
"As a virtual town square, young people can build relationships with industry leaders, as well as search for internships, learn about scholarship opportunities and participate in mentoring programs and pork industry events," said Bryn Jensson, producer outreach marketing manager for Pork Checkoff.
The website bridges the gap between youth and companies with a focus on the pork industry. Young people can create personal profiles that are visible to potential internship employers or scholarship sponsors.
Profile Provides 3-D Image
"On PorkSquare, young people can share more information about themselves, such as photos, personal interests and/or social media links, than they could share on a traditional resume," Jensson said. "Think of it as a chance to give a resume a 3-D image for industry leaders to view."
Companies with a focus on the pork industry also can create profiles on PorkSquare. Students can search them to get a better sense of what a company has to offer.
"It's great to have a place to search for internship candidates who are passionate about our industry and could potentially be our future industry leaders," said Mary Langhorst with Minnesota's Wakefield Pork. "We are helping to build the next generation of our workforce by encouraging internships and providing scholarships."
Young people are already finding the site useful.
"I never knew there were so many opportunities in the pork industry," said David Ammann, a student at the University of Illinois.
"I always thought that if I wanted to stay in the pork industry, I would need to become a vet," Ammann said. "I had to search for scholarships and internships, but now PorkSquare will give college kids the ability to find them easily."
Whatever interest a student has in the pork industry, PorkSquare can help point them in the right direction.
"We want to highlight opportunities that the growing pork industry has to offer," Jensson said. "And we want to keep 'pig kids' engaged and interested in their passion for pork."