Apr 3, 2024
Texas produce group expands college student program

The Texas International Produce Association (TIPA) is expanding its career networking student program, Encouraging Discovery & Growth in Education (EDGE).

The program will bring more than 40 Texas university system students to the Viva Fresh Expo on April 13, the final day of the three-day event in Houston.

Dante Galeazzi
Dante Galeazzi

Formally known as Aggies for Fresh, the program rebranded last year with a mission to offer college students throughout Texas educational resources, networking opportunities and career mentorship to expose them to categories throughout fresh produce seeking new talent to fulfill roles in emerging sectors.

This year’s participants include students from Texas A&M (College Station), Texas A&M (McAllen), Tarleton, Texas State and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. The participating students are studying agriculture, accounting, finance and more, and are seeking employers that align with their career goals.

“As our industry evolves, it is imperative that we keep the next generation and their skills at top of mind,” Dante Galeazzi, president and CEO of TIPA, said in a news release. “With the agriculture industry contributing to two million jobs statewide, and fresh produce playing a significant role in creating job openings, incorporating current students and upcoming graduates into our companies is imperative to creating the future leaders of tomorrow.”

EDGE sponsors this year are Fresh Texas, Texas Department of Agriculture, Perricone Farms, Delta Fresh Produce, Grower Alliance LLC, and Sunview Marketing. Through their sponsorship, students throughout the state will have the opportunity to attend the Viva Fresh Expo, and interact with produce professionals looking to employ the next generation.

New developments include a section on the EDGE website called “Student Resources,” which will feature blogs and webinars from fresh produce industry professionals. All guest speakers have more than 10 years of experience ranging from careers in sales to senior level management. The program is live on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook including content that provides students tips and updates on current industry affairs.

EDGE-logoEDGE acts as a resource for both employers and students who are looking to make connections and take their careers to new heights. The food industry is worth $1.5 trillion, and while Texas contributes to a small portion of the overall job market, it is important to note that their impact is strong in categories including sweet onions, watermelon, and grapefruit.

“EDGE was formed to encourage students to learn and take on up-and-coming roles within current and emerging sectors in our industry,” Galeazzi said in the release. “On behalf of TIPA, we are proud to host a program that provides value and exposure to the fresh talent looking to create a career path that gives them an EDGE throughout any fruit or vegetable category that resonates with their interests and objectives.”

Companies interested in meeting with EDGE students or who would like to submit job openings or internships for students to review in advance should email Sabrina Wilson at [email protected].

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