12 / SEEDWORLD.COM JUNE 2018 According to an employment opportunities survey, conducted by Purdue, there will on average be 57,900 job openings in the food and agricul- ture and renewable natural resources industries; whereas, only 20,000 students a year graduate with bachelor’s degrees in critical STEM fields needed for the future. And while women are underrepresented in most traditional STEM specialties, women make up more than half of the food, agriculture, renew- able natural resources and environmental sciences higher education graduates. So, how might your company recruit and retain new talent moving into the future? One strategy that’s particularly effective is men- toring, especially for millennials … but not the tradi- tional kind, according to Talent Management. “Many organizations are missing the mark when it comes to building mentoring programs that will help them learn and develop,” says Philip Antonelli, Xerox Corp. strategist. “Millennials reject the idea that one person is capable of assisting their growth and development. “One can hardly blame them — modern busi- ness is extremely complicated and consistently evolving. Who can reasonably expect that a single person has all the answers?” This goes back to what Suarez what saying about creating experiential learning opportunities through internships. According to Wendy Murphy, coauthor of “Strategic Relationships at Work,” millennials like to learn through collaboration. “Since they have grown up with information and access to others at their fingertips, they will natu- rally leverage their networks to discover new ideas and learn from others’ expertise,” she says. Furthermore, millennials don’t see mentorship as a hierarchy of expertise. Murphy says mentoring, in the eyes of millennials is more democratized. “They see it as a learning process that occurs across a range of relationships — senior leaders, peers, junior colleagues, clients and customers — rather than just in a one-on-one traditional format.” Let’s take a look at what a select few seed com- panies are doing. Bayer hosts a youth ag summit each year targeting those 14-28 years of age, with the goal of inspiring youth and young scientists for agricul- ture. A key element of the week-long event is that it serves as a forum for young leaders to discuss solutions for a sustainable agriculture that will help to feed a growing population. In Germany, the company since 1965, has sup- ported “Jugend forscht,” a research competition for school students that aims to reward special accomplishments and talents in the fields of natu- ral sciences, math and technology. It also helps to support international chemistry and biology olym- piads, where students and young adults can prove their scientific skills. Their goal: to get 1 million children interested in science by 2020. These programs help to shape the Making Science Make Sense campaign. Their recipe for success: allowing employees to take time out to visit schools, armed with hands-on sci- ence, such as experiments that schoolchildren can try out themselves and that make them want to understand the science behind them. At Syngenta, leaders invest in young talent through internship and mentoring programs. All Syngenta internships include: assigned projects, end of project presentations, strong mentoring, job shadowing and cross-functional learning oppor- tunities. To add to that, they also focus on helping students develop life, leadership and presentation skills and encourage them to participate in com- munity outreach through volunteering. These are the types of examples that Suarez is referring to when talking about creating experien- tial learning opportunities. Other companies offer these kinds of opportuni- ties, too, but more are needed to bring in the influx of talent needed to lead the industry forward and meet the global challenges of feeding a growing global population using less land and natural resources, while reducing the overall environmental footprint of agriculture. SW “Many organizations are missing the mark when it comes to building mentoringprograms that will help them learn and develop.” — Philip Antonelli