Eleven University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff students received job or internship offers at the annual International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) at Atlanta, Ga.

Twenty-five students attended the expo where they interviewed for positions and networked with professionals in the poultry industry, according to a UAPB news release.

Sponsored by the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, American Feed Industry Association and North American Meat Institute, the annual trade show features the latest technology, products and services related to the poultry and egg, meat and feed industries. More than 32,900 people attended the 2019 expo, including 1,426 exhibitors, according to IPPE officials.

UAPB participants included majors of animal science Ashlyn Carlton, senior, Jarvis Green, senior, Malcolm Jackson, junior, Bria Khabeer, junior, Candace McKnight, senior, Myles Morton, senior, Lizney Rudds, senior, Tamia Thomas, senior, Jehrica Webb, senior, and December 2018 graduates Raven Burnett and John Reed Jr.; agriculture business majors Blake Conner, senior, Frances Flowers, junior, Jasmine James, junior, Tenea Jones, junior, and Danielle Williams, junior; regulatory science majors Tanilah Jones, senior, Terynn Riles, senior, Yamnah Sargent, senior, Chinara Starlard, junior, and Melissa Walker, junior; agronomy major Kylan Williams, junior; agriculture economics major Shederick White, junior; graduate agricultural regulations major Lea Brewer; and business administration major Jamease Sherrill, senior.

The UAPB College Student Career (CSC) Program paid for the students’ accommodations. As part of the CSC program, the students submitted their resumes months before the expo to set up interviews for jobs and internships during the event, according to the release.

“Eleven of our students came back with job or internship offers,” Jayant Lohakare, associate professor of animal science at UAPB, said. “These students have the chance to get a head start by gaining professional experience in the industry during their studies.”

Conner interviewed with Tyson Foods and was offered a summer internship.

“My experience at IPPE was magnificent and a lot of fun,” he said. “I was offered an internship with the company I wanted, so I am really satisfied with the trip.”

Carlton received an offer for an operations associate position at Tyson Foods’ office at Green Forest.

“I learned a lot about different companies within the processing and production industry, which I enjoyed because I now have a greater perspective than before,” she said.

Brewer, McKnight, Riles and Thomas also received job offers from Tyson Foods.

Jackson received an internship from Cobb-Vantress Inc., and Webb received an internship from Koch Foods.

Morton received offers from Daybreak Foods Inc., Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. and Tyson foods. James received an internship offer from Pilgrim’s Pride.

Prior to attending the conference, Reed accepted a job as a third-shift laborer with Packers Sanitation Services Inc., a sanitation company that cleans food processing plants. When he discovered the company’s representatives would be attending the conference, he conducted a second job search within the company and found a job opening for a plant safety manager at Goodlettsville, Tenn.

“I read more about the company and studied its safety manual before attending the conference,” he said. “When I had an interview with them, they suggested I visit the plant and flew me to Tennessee a few days later. Once I returned home, they offered me the job – I will be starting in March.”

Reed said he encourages other UAPB students to consider attending the conference in the future.

“IPPE was a wonderful experience – there was something there for everybody,” he said. “As for finding job opportunities, guidance is key, and we were guided in the right direction thanks to Dr. Jayant Lohakare.”

Williams said having the chance to network with recruiters was invaluable, because it allowed student participants to better understand what competencies companies are looking for in potential new hires.

Lohakare encourages other UAPB students to participate in these events in the future.

Details: Jayant Lohakare, associate professor of animal science, at lohakarej@uapb.edu or http://ippexpo.com or 870-575-8540.

— Will Hehemann is a writer/editor with the UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences.