The International Production and Processing Expo, better known as IPPE, at Georgia World Congress Center is THE event for the meat, poultry, and feed industries every year. 2023 marked IPPE’s 47th expo held here at GWCC. Over 130 countries were represented at IPPE 2023, and more than 25,000 visitors came to the city for the expo. A big part of the event is showcasing the latest technology, equipment, supplies, and services, but some attendees came to GWCC looking for more than just the latest and greatest instruments and tech.
IPPE features a college student career program organized and funded by USPOULTRY, bringing eligible college students from across the country to experience the expo, get better acquainted with the industry, and even interview for jobs with some of the top companies in the world. The program is aimed at equipping the next generation of leaders for the industry. But it is not just for those who are looking to work with chickens and eggs as Barbara Jenkins, Vice President of Education Programs and Executive Director of USPOULTRY Foundation says. “We are more than just chickens and eggs. We are more than just hatchery and processing. We need business majors. We need accounting majors. We need all of that to make our industry run.” The college student career program has grown over the last 47 years to include business, accounting, IT, robotics, engineering, refrigeration, and more in addition to poultry science.
Whether the students know exactly what they are looking for or not, the program is helpful to get the next generation to find its niche. “Getting them to see what’s available to them often opens their eyes to what the industry really is behind the scenes”, Jenkins said.
Over the three-day program, students visit the over half a million square feet of exhibits to get more familiar with the industry, attend educational courses, and even have the opportunity to interview with a multitude of companies in attendance. The program pays for two nights of hotel rooms for visiting students and provides a pool of candidates for companies to interview. The companies then contact the students to set up individual interviews upon their needs.
This process is great for companies being able to have access to a great potential employee pool all in one place. It is also very rewarding for Jenkins and everyone with IPPE and USPOULTRY. “I love to see children succeed, and I try to help them along the way. I think to the organization it’s important as well to sustain the future of our organization. You have to have young people coming up into the ranks into leadership roles”, says Jenkins.
IPPE is set to return to Georgia World Congress Center January 30-February 1, 2024. The Authority cannot wait to have them back and get some more college students setup for future success.