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An industry that never declines, and that we all touch every day as consumers. Above average pay that helps you live the type of life you want to live, while doing your part to feed a world of 8 billion people with not just meat and potatoes, so to speak, but with new products released every day that are healthier and have unique flavors and benefits. That’s today’s food and beverage industry, and it represents one of the great career opportunities that most young people don’t even think about.

As we prepare for the FPSA Food Industry Career Fair on October 25-26 at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago (all students are welcome!), I reflect on why someone should consider a job with the food industry and its many, many suppliers that help this industry in its mission to feed the world. I’ve provided some of those reasons up above but honestly, there is a significant demographic issue in the workplace that makes the food industry especially attractive.

The food industry still has many baby boomers in its workforce as it is a more traditional industry. When you consider that on average 10,000 boomers are retiring every day, that means a lot of jobs are opening up, not just creating entry level openings but also leaving room for advancement for ambitious workers looking to get ahead. Additionally, one huge strength that Gen-Z’ers bring to the workplace is their high comfort level and productivity with technology, creating even more opportunities for growth (both professionally and intellectually).

This is the first time I have witnessed this during my career, and I assure you it wasn’t that way in the late 80’s when you needed to take your entry level job and wait for opportunities to open up. Now it seems those opportunities are everywhere, even if a recession is looming. After all, we have to eat, don’t we?

For any students in the Chicagoland area, I encourage you to sign up for the Career Fair to learn what opportunities are out there for you. For these same students, and those not in Chicago, I suggest you consider joining FPSA – the Food Processing Suppliers Association – as a student member. Designed to help you advance towards that first job in the food industry, benefits include access to our mentor circles for guidance, mock interviews with the Young Professionals Group to help you prepare for job interviews, and Career Roundtable opportunities at our events where you will get to network with other students and young industry workers who can help you on your way to a career in this exciting industry.

It's a great opportunity to join the food industry in a career that will put you on the path to achieving your goals, no matter what they might be.

Andy Drennan, FPSA SVP