AgriProspects Workforce Development Network

The ECOP Economic & Workforce Development Program Action Team in collaboration with the NECIW National Working Group (NWG) and Extension Foundation (EXF) will collaborate with NIFA staff to form a robust network of public and private entities across every U.S. region to build the nation’s capacity to respond to the changing needs in the food and agriculture sector. The primary audience for this project, “will be Cooperative Extension practitioners, workforce intermediaries, and the participants they serve. Intermediaries such as the US Department of Labor, American Jobs Center, industry partners, state and local workforce agencies, and vendors like Eduworks, AgCareers, and EBSCO amongst others are critical partners for this project. The intermediary’s role is to “bridge” the timing and information gap and align employee preparation and training to employer needs, thereby creating the optimal connection between the demand and supply sides of the world of work, ultimately serving as the direct connection to job seekers.

The objectives of this project are to:

  • Create a living clearinghouse with dynamic technology to organize and share Cooperative Extension’s agriculture workforce development offerings.
  • Develop a sustainable network of Extension Educators and Industry partners to strengthen the alignment of agriculture WD offerings with real-time industry needs.
  • Connect workforce intermediaries to Cooperative Extension skill development programs that cultivate upskilling, credentialing, and participant readiness to successfully join or rejoin the ag workforce.

According to USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, “the goal of the project, NECIW Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP) Grant: Utilizing a Wealth of Extension Resources to Meet Agriculture’s Most Pressing Workforce Needs” is to connect similar regional efforts, identify gaps in the workforce ecosystem, and provide adaptive, science-based proven solutions to address local and regional workforce issues, including accessible training methodologies (i.e., experiential, skills-based learning opportunities and others), materials, instructors, and other solutions that result in participant’s upskilling, credentialing, and readiness to successfully join or rejoin the workforce.”

This work is supported through a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture AFRI Education and Workforce Development Competitive Grant 2023-67037-40533

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