AgReliant Genetics is headquartered in Westfield. (photo provided)
Paul Nselel was named CEO of AgReliant Genetics in July 2020. (photo provided)
In an effort to build a more robust jobs pipeline, Westfield-based AgReliant Genetics has created a multi-year education program that goes beyond a standard internship.
The agbioscience company’s Seed Academy is a three-tier learning and development program that is available to first-year college students..
The company, which focuses on research, production and sale of corn, soybeans and other seeds across North America, says the program aims to bolster a reliable job pipeline by training students early in their collegiate careers.
“For the last two decades, AgReliant Genetics has placed great emphasis on the personal and professional growth of our employees,” said Paul Nselel, president and chief executive officer of AgReliant Genetics. “Our Seed Academy is built on the understanding that it is never too early to start developing the skills to help launch a successful career.”
AgReliant says Seed Academy is divided into different learning levels: build, accelerate and advance. Each level gets more challenging, requiring a higher level of expertise.
Clayton Michael-Butler has been tapped to oversee the academy. He’s been the lead campus recruiter for the company for more than a year.
“Students were telling us, ‘Hey, we really love the organization. We want to come back. We want to work for AgReliant. But we want a different opportunity. We want to learn something new. We want more responsibility,’” said Michael-Butler.
Nselel, who was named CEO in July, says the industry is changing and innovation is driving much of that change, which is creating exciting opportunities for generations ahead.
“When you think of gene editing, data analytics, advance breeding techniques, a lot of the science happening in health care is happening in agriculture,” said Nselel. “We know immersive, hands-on work is an integral part of the learning experience that helps students apply their academic insight in a real-world scenario.”
Entry-level internships, designed for college freshmen, will offer a curriculum about the company’s seed brands in which to build their knowledge of the industry.
The program accelerates in their second and third years in college to study sales, research and production.
The students then potentially advance to a one-year, post-graduation position in any of those three fields.
AgReliant says while there’s no guarantee of a position, successful students will have a leg-up on landing a full-time job.
“What we were anticipating is as they continue to grow and develop, we’re building those skills much quicker and more efficiently than our standard program. So, we’re flattening that learning curve,” said Michael-Butler. “When they come on full time, they’re going to have a lot more knowledge, they’re going to be extremely more comfortable with the role that they’re in.”
The first cohort of the Seed Academy will begin in May 2021. The company says it intends to provide experiences to 100 college students through the academy.
To learn more about the program, click here.
AgReliant’s campus recruiting lead Clayton Michael-Butler said the company is responding to student’s desire to get more from their internships.
Nselel said his company is on the cutting edge of innovation in Indiana’s agbioscience sector.