Recently, a few of our students and faculty members were able to attend the INLA Hort Expo. The Hort Expo is a conference for different companies in the horticulture industry to come together for the opportunity to network and attend seminars. Our students find opportunities for networking with companies to find mentors and/or job contacts within the industry. Our faculty likes to attend so they can keep current on the happenings within the industry.
Valerie Schulthess and Jace Johnson, both students in attendance at the conference, agree that the expo is invaluable for students. Valerie said that at first, she didn't think any of the booths applied to her future career goals but as she began to speak with different sales representatives, she was overwhelmed by the wealth of information they seemed to give to her. She said, "It evolved into these experienced horticulturists pouring out tons of valuable advice about classes I should take, skills I should master, etc."
Jace had the opportunity to attend several seminars and network with owners and managers of the largest horticulture companies in the area. He also visited with several people about possible employment after graduation. He said, "I received one offer to work for a company part time, online, while finishing school. I have never been in another setting that made me feel like such a part of this industry. I am extremely grateful for the chance that I have, as a student, to do things like this. Most people in the industry, unless they are in management, don't even have that chance. This is a very narrow window of opportunity."
The hort expo is a great way for students to see what their career opportunities in the industry are. It's also a great way to network with companies to gain employment opportunities. It's even a good way to learn about what's going on, and to stay current. Hort expos like these are recommended to anyone trying to get into the industry.