Building the Agriculture Intellect of the Finger Lakes: Support for Agricultural Career Development

Worksite Location
CCE Ontario County
Faculty Sponsor
Christine Smart, Professor, Integrative Plant Science
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Marie Anselm, Agriculture Economic Development Specialist, CCE Ontario County; Russ Welser, Agriculture and Natural Resources Issue Leader, CCE Ontario County
Stipend Amount
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

The need to develop and retain a skilled agricultural workforce is critical to support continued economic growth in New York State’s agricultural sector. CCE Ontario, through its work with the Finger Lakes Workforce Investment Board, is actively involved in the Building the Agriculture Intellect of the Finger Lakes initiative to strengthen New York’s agricultural workforce through youth career development. As an extension of this initiative, CCE Ontario will supervise a student intern in updating and enhancing the publication, “Technology, Food & Agriculture Career Cards”, a tool to inform the public on high-demand agricultural careers. Examples of these cards can be seen at The student’s work on this project will entail collecting and communicating information relevant to New York on 57+ unique agricultural careers. The student will develop display materials to communicate the results of this publication to diverse audiences statewide, as the results will be widely disseminated in a variety of formats to support agricultural career development for the next generation of New York’s agricultural workforce. To enhance the student’s exposure to k-12 engagement, the student will also be involved with a summer science garden-based learning project at an elementary school in Geneva, New York (also Ontario County). This program has been functioning under Smart for many years, but connecting the program with CCE Ontario via the undergraduate intern will not only provide an opportunity for the intern to work with k-12 students, but will also strengthen interactions between CCE Ontario and the Geneva campus. This garden-based learning project is also aimed at building ag intellect in the Finger Lakes.

Roles and Responsibilities

In developing agricultural career cards, the CALS CCE intern will work under the supervision of CCE Ontario County staff to:
• Collect New York State & National labor statistics for agricultural careers
• Research degree requirements and degree programs for agricultural careers
• Provide detailed information about agricultural career paths including job descriptions, potential employers, and relevant high school/college courses
• Develop materials to display the results of their research in formats such as posters, booklets, and websites to be used in a variety of forums statewide to promote careers in agriculture
• Contact local agricultural enterprises, as necessary, to complete research
• Interact with k-12 educators and Cornell faculty on garden-based learning

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

Must be a full-time CALS freshman, sophomore or junior. Graduating seniors are not eligible.

No specific coursework is required for this internship, but previous research and data collection experience are beneficial. Strong writing skills are necessary, as are interpersonal skills, and the ability to work independently at times. Student should have a demonstrated interest in the agricultural sector and be willing to support all agricultural industries represented in New York State. The ability to communicate information with diverse audiences in visual and written formats is necessary for this project as well.

Benefits and Skills

In completing this internship, the student will gain valuable knowledge of a wide cross-section of agricultural careers and develop a better overall understanding of New York’s agricultural industry, including industry needs. This project will enhance the intern’s research skills, including their ability to collect data, manage data, and effectively communicate research results. The intern will receive mentorship from CCE Ontario County staff in writing skills and general communication skills, as well as exposure to the roles and responsibilities of CCE employees.