September 1, 2022 | By: Holly Wiemers
LEXINGTON, Ky.

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment will welcome all Kentucky college students with equine and distillation, wine and brewing career aspirations to the Kentucky Signature Industries Career Fair Sept. 29.  

UK Ag Equine Programs, which has hosted an annual equine career fair for more than a decade, is teaming up this year with the James B. Bean Institute for Kentucky Spirits to jointly host the event in the UK Gatton Student Center 4-7 p.m. EDT. The career fair will expose future industry professionals to internships, part-time and full-time jobs and volunteer opportunities. The fair is also an opportunity for employers who don’t currently have job openings to raise awareness about career and involvement possibilities in all areas of the equine and bourbon industries.  

The event is also useful for students interested in related areas such as finance, hospitality, supply chain, engineering, accounting, tourism, communication and more. Last year’s Equine Career and Opportunity Fair drew more than 170 current and future college students from 11 different academic programs. More than 35 employers and 80 recruiters shared job, internship, volunteer and networking opportunities. Organizers are expecting this year’s joint event to reach even more people. 

“The career fair is a chance for our students to explore the diverse opportunities within the equine industry,” said Savannah Robin, equine internship coordinator and event co-organizer. “We are so thankful to have the support of our industry partners and equine employers helping to grow our equine professionals.” 

The impact of both industries on the state is significant. Kentucky is home to 242,400 horses, according to most recent Kentucky Equine Survey. There are approximately 35,000 equine operations in Kentucky, creating more than 40,665 jobs and contributing approximately $134 million in annual tax revenue. The bourbon industry generates more than 22,500 jobs and the annual payroll tops $1.23 billion. The impact goes further with more than $286 million in annual tax revenue in the commonwealth attributed to bourbon.  

“The University of Kentucky and the James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits are committed to educating and developing the state’s workforce. This starts with our students and recent alumni. Connecting students with the distilling industry early will accelerate economic opportunities for them and build a talent pipeline for Kentucky’s $9 billion signature industry,” said Seth DeBolt, director of the Beam Institute and the Distillation, Wine and Brewing Studies undergraduate certificate program. 

Thanks to the generous support of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, as well as the Kentucky Equine Education Project, all registration costs for equine employers have been discounted. Similarly, the Kentucky Distillers Association has helped underwrite the cost for employers in the distilling, wine and brewing industries 

“Emphasis on ‘Career and Opportunity’ is central to this important annual event,” said James MacLeod, professor of veterinary science and director of UK Ag Equine Programs. “The substance and scope of equine-related career paths continue to grow, and this event is an exciting convergence of employers, current equine science students, prospective equine science students and educational organizations.” 

Employers and student attendees may register via Handshake based on their industry association: https://students.ca.uky.edu/KY-signature-industries. 

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