Ag & Energy - Lesson 20 - Biofuels Careers

Ag & Energy - Lesson 20 - Biofuels Careers

Target Grade Level / Age Range:

High School: 9-12

Time:

270 Minutes

Purpose:

As a result of this lesson, the student will …

  1. Recognize the careers associated with the ethanol industry.
  2. Identify the career path for individuals pursuing a career in the ethanol industry.

Materials:

  • Writing surface
  • Projector
  • Computer lab

Suggested Companion Resources

Vocabulary

  • Career pathway - a workforce development strategy used in the U.S. to support workers’ transitions from education into and through the workforce

Interest Approach or Motivator

Have students brainstorm a list of all the careers they can that are directly and indirectly related to the ethanol industry. Provide them with some categories to get their thinking process started:

  • Careers associated with production of inputs (farmers)
  • Careers associated with the transportation of materials (truckers)
  • Careers associated with ethanol processing (research scientist)
  • Careers associated with the production of ethanol and facilities (plant supervisor, engineer)
  • Careers associated with the distribution of ethanol (gas station clerk, railroad engineer)
  • Careers associated with marketing/clerical/industry support (policy advisor, marketing specialist)

Once they individually, write down their ideas, have the students share with a neighbor and then share with the entire group. During the entire group share, write the jobs and careers on the board. Have students continue to add to their list so they end up with an extensive list.

Procedures

OBJECTIVE 1. Recognize the careers associated with the ethanol industry.

Show students TM.A to provide more job and career opportunities that may not have been mentioned earlier. Have them continue to add to their list. Explain that careers fall into a variety of areas and they are not all directly related to the production of ethanol. Many jobs are created indirectly through the ethanol industry. When they have an extensive list assembled have each student pick the three jobs and careers that they are most interested in learning more about.

  1. Careers associated with the ethanol industry can fall into six major areas.
    1. Production of Inputs
      1. Grain Accountant
      2. Farmer
      3. Seed Dealer
      4. Equipment Dealer
    2. Transportation of Materials
      1. Logistics Manager
      2. Truck driver
    3. Ethanol Processing
      1. General Manager
      2. Production Supervisor
      3. Lab Manager
      4. Materials Handler
      5. Production Operators
      6. Chemical Engineers
      7. Handler
    4. Production and Maintenance of Ethanol Facilities
      1. Project Leader
      2. Electricians
      3. Mechanical Technicians
      4. Maintenance Technicians
      5. Mechanical Engineers
      6. Civil Engineers
    5. Distribution of Ethanol
      1. Product loading
      2. Ethanol Stations
    6. Marketing/ Clerical/ Industry Support
      1. Environmental Health and
      2. Safety Coordinator
      3. Auto Dealerships
      4. Auto Technicians
      5. Equipment (mechanical)
      6. Engineer
      7. Secretary
      8. Accountants
      9. Lawyers
      10. Payroll
      11. Clerks
      12. Attorneys

Look at the list and add any jobs or careers to your list that are missing. What jobs or careers do you have questions about? Allow students to ask questions and explain the careers that are unfamiliar to the students. Realize that jobs and careers in the ethanol industry do not have to be directly involved with the production of ethanol. Many other jobs and careers are created indirectly through the ethanol industry.

OBJECTIVE 2. Identify the career path for individuals pursuing a career in the ethanol industry.

Explain what Career Pathways are and show students the example of a career pathway for ethanol. Highlight that as you gain experience and educational requirements you can move up the career path.

Career Pathways are a workforce development strategy used in the U.S. to support workers’ transitions from education into and through the workforce. This strategy has been adopted at the federal, state and local levels in order to increase education, training and learning opportunities for America’s current and emerging workforce. A career pathway groups careers related together by related fields and similar characteristics. The employment requirements require common interests, strengths, and competencies.

Educational Pathway

  1. Entry-level Trainings/Certifications
    1. Boiler License
    2. General Agriculture Training
    3. Welding
      1. Associate’s Degree Majors
        1. Agriculture
        2. Electrical Construction & Control
        3. Ethanol Production & Management
        4. Electromechanical
        5. Industrial Technology
      2. Bachelor’s Degree Majors
        1. Accounting
        2. Agriculture
        3. Business Management
        4. Chemistry/Microbiology
        5. Industrial Technology
        6. Marketing

Career Pathway

  1. Jobs Requiring Training and/or Certification
    1. Assistant Operators
    2. Assistant Boiler Operators
    3. Commodity Handlers
    4. Maintenance
    5. Warehouse/Receiving Clerk
  2. Jobs Requiring an Associate’s Degree
    1. Boiler Operator
    2. Electrician
    3. Grain Merchandiser
    4. Human Resources Director
    5. Lab Assistant
    6. Maintenance Manager
    7. Safety Officer
    8. Team Lead Operator
  3. Jobs Requiring a Bachelor’s Degree
    1. Accountant
    2. Commodity Marketing Director
    3. Environmental Specialist
    4. Lab Manager
    5. Plant Manager
    6. Safety Officer

We have come up with a whole list of careers associated with the ethanol industry and can visualize how they fit into a Career Pathway. The next step is to learn more about specific jobs and careers.

Explain to students that they are going to complete an activity based on one of the career options they chose earlier. During the activity they are going to be asked to research the following information pertaining to their chosen career:

  • Job Description
  • Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
  • Average salary/ Compensation
  • Educational requirements
  • Working Conditions
  • Possible hazards on the job
  • Possible locations of work
  • Level of supervision or managerial level
  • Room for promotions or moving up
  • One interesting fact

The links provided for the lesson may be a good place for students to start their research.

ACTIVITY OPTIONS:

Determine ahead of time which option you are choosing or allow students to choose the option they would like to do. Below are suggested steps to follow to have students complete each of the options.

Poster Project

  • Using the information and pictures gathered, create a poster.
  • Have students use the worksheet to record their research.
  • Allow adequate time in the computer lab to research the career.
  • Provide students with poster board and creative materials.
  • Grade student work.
  • Extra credit opportunity for contacting an individual in the profession and a real picture or quote is used on the poster from the individual.
  • Display in classroom, hallway, or library

Essay

  • Using the information gathered, write a summary of 500 words or more.
  • Have students use worksheet to record their research.
  • Allow adequate time in the computer lab to research the career.
  • Ask students to write a rough draft (provide feedback on the draft)
  • Final draft should be typed.
  • Grade student work
  • Extra credit opportunity for contacting an individual in the profession and quoting them in the summary.
  • Publish in school paper, local paper, or in an FFA newsletter

Oral Presentation

  • Using the information gathered create a 3-5 minute presentation.
  • Have students use the worksheet to record their research.
  • Allow adequate time in the computer lab to research the career.
  • Ask students to prepare an outline for their presentation including an introduction, body of content, and a conclusion.
  • Grade student work.
  • Extra credit opportunity for contacting an individual in the profession and quoting them in the presentation.
  • Ask individuals to present their presentation during the next class.
REVIEW/SUMMARY

Congratulate the students for their efforts and the products they produced pertaining to jobs and careers in the ethanol industry. Remind them of all the potential careers, what a career pathway looks like in the ethanol industry, and challenge them to continue to build upon their ethanol industry knowledge.

Answers to Assessment:

Matching:

  1. Career pathways
  2. Knowledge
  3. Abilities
  4. Skills
  5. Educational Requirements
  6. Short Answer: Answers may vary

Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)

Extension Activities

  • Ask local professionals to be guest speakers and talk about ethanol careers. These may be people who directly work in the ethanol industry or indirectly work with the ethanol industry. Prepare questions and give the questions to the professionals ahead of time to help guide them in preparing their presentations for the class.
  • Depending upon which activity is selected the product that is developed could be used with local civic groups.
  • Shadow or interview a local person who works directly or indirectly with the ethanol industry. Ask questions related to the information found during the work done on this lesson. Use the additional information to evaluate whether this may be a career option in the future.

Sources/Credits

  • Adapted from Renewable Fuels Instructional Materials: Copyright © 2009 by National FFA Organization. Used by permission.
  • E-Moments® is a registered trademark of the National FFA Organization. Copyright © 2004 by National FFA Organization. Used by permission.
  • New materials, updates and revisions were funded in part by a grant from the Iowa Energy Center as a special project of the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation.

Author(s)

Will Fett

Organization Affiliation

Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation

Agriculture Literacy Outcomes

  • Theme 4: STEM
    • Predict the types of careers and skills agricultural scientists will need in the future to support agricultural production and meet the needs of a growing population
  • Theme 5: Culture, Economy, Society, & Geography
    • Describe essential agricultural careers related to production, consumption, and regulation

Education Content Standards

  • 21.9–12.TL.4 Essential Concept and/or Skill: Demonstrate critical thinking skills using appropriate tools and resources to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems and make informed decisions.

Common Core Connections

  • NL-ENG.K-12.8. Developing Research Skills.
  • NSS-EC.9-12.14. Entrepreneurs.
  • NT.K-12.5. Technology Research Tools.