July 29, 2022 | By: Holly Wiemers
LEXINGTON, Ky.

Equine and bourbon are two of Kentucky’s most iconic and economically impactful industries. This year, the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment will host a Kentucky Signature Industries Career Fair Sept. 29 in the UK Gatton Student Center 4-7 p.m. EDT.

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. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits to jointly host the event. 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 open to any college student in Kentucky with an interest in the equine, distilling, wine and brewing industries, as well as 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 ‘Careers and Opportunities’ is central to the program,” said James MacLeod, professor of veterinary science and director of UK Ag Equine Programs. “Broad awareness of the importance of Kentucky’s signature industries combined with substantial opportunities for growth and innovation inspires everyone. This event is an exciting convergence of employers, current students, prospective students, industry groups 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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