16 SOURCE | Summer 2022
Innovating in Recruitment
How Three Rivers FS is building its workforce through a new apprenticeship program to recruit talent
Beth Fannin , Communications Services Director bfannin @ growmark . com
Challenges in today ’ s labor market are widespread . You can ’ t turn on the news without hearing about the difficulties companies are currently facing in recruiting and retaining employees to run their businesses . The agriculture industry , and the GROWMARK System , are no exception . Many companies are turning to new programs and recruitment methods to try and win the war for talent . Three Rivers FS hopes that its new apprenticeship program will be a solution to help in overcoming these challenges .
Craig Martins , agronomy sales & operations manager , and Ann Grove , human resources manager , have embarked on a process to partner with West Delaware Community School District in building an apprenticeship program built specifically for agriculture .
“ In our community , we are competing with companies like John Deere and Caterpillar for talent ,” Martins stated . “ We began to start thinking of ways we could attract students coming out of our local high school to become interested in opportunities with Three Rivers FS .”
Enter Tim Felderman , principal for West Delaware High School . Felderman , a former ag education teacher and FFA advisor , felt strongly that their high school ’ s apprenticeship program would benefit from adding an agriculture-based partnership .
Tim Felderman , principal , West Delaware High School
“ When you look at the demographics of Delaware County , and the fact that there are great paying careers in the agriculture sector , it makes perfect sense that this type of apprenticeship would support our students and our local economy ,” stated Felderman .
This , combined with his love of agriculture and background in production ag , made him passionate about adding an agriculture apprenticeship to their already established program .
Grove and Felderman worked together for a few months to develop the curriculum and work experience requirements to obtain approval from the United States Department of Labor to add the agricultural service worker registered apprenticeship to West Delaware ’ s program .
“ Once we got started , it was really easy to get everything completed for approval . The high school ’ s desire to work with us and assist in working with the U . S . Department of Labor to make sure all requirements were met was extremely helpful ,” Grove said in reference to establishing the program .
Now that the agronomy-based apprenticeship has been approved , Three Rivers FS will be inviting students to their plot days as well as holding an informational session for parents in hopes of gaining students ’ interest .