It is a worry for many parents of college students – will there be jobs waiting for their daughter or son after graduation?

With growing demand for jobs in agriculture, degrees are at a premium.

At the University of Arizona’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), undergraduate enrollment has increased nearly 18 percent since 2008, with students gaining the hands-on, real world skills required to land a job following graduation.

“We are working to ensure that when our students graduate, they are ready for employment,” said Joy Winzerling, the Bart Cardon associate dean for academic programs and career development.

“In certain disciplines – including agribusiness economics and management and agricultural technology management and education – we are seeing 100 percent placement in jobs among recent graduates.”

Some graduates are finding starting salaries at $40,000 and higher.

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CALS, the oldest college on campus and a founding member of the BIO5 Institute, draws students who are interested in feeding the world’s hungry, curing and preventing disease, improving the ecosystem, finding a solution to dependency on foreign oil, and other global challenges.

The best and brightest students are needed to address these challenges in the future.

To expose teens to careers in agriculture, UA offers AgDiscovery Camp to students ages 12 to 17. 

Agriculture generates 22 million jobs in the country – most off the farm. Data from the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicate expected growth in most agriculture-related fields.

“We do cows, we do plows and we do so many other things in agriculture and the life sciences,” Winzerling said of a CALS education. “It is really very exciting.”

From sustainable plant systems to water policy, bio-systems engineering, nutritional sciences, retail, child development and race track management, CALS offers a diversity of majors unequaled in other colleges.

“We are almost like a mini-university because of the breadth of the majors we have,” said Kyle Sharp, CALS coordinator of career services.

Winzerling said, “The disciplines have evolved to match the needs today and address what the needs will be in the future. It’s science at work.”