World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute develops employability skills

Check out this unique learning experience that fosters employability skills and career exploration.

World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute logo

Michigan State University Extension provides a variety of opportunities and experiences throughout the year to help young people develop and enhance employability skills. Networking, communications, problem-solving, critical thinking, cultural awareness and social skills are just a few of the skills today’s employers look for in their employees. World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute is an event that fosters those skills while allowing youth to explore a variety of jobs and careers related to food security, science and agriculture.

The World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute is an experience where youth in grades 8-12 explore critical global challenges and exciting ways to make a difference here and around the world. World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute is a one-day event where youth present their own research and recommendations on how to solve key global challenges in a short speech and small group discussions with other youth and Michigan State University (MSU) faculty, staff and students. Participants also take tours and get to participate in immersion experiences with MSU faculty and scientists in some of MSU’s laboratories and facilities.

Of the 2019 participants who completed both a pre- and post-program evaluation:

  • 100% of youth felt more knowledgeable about career opportunities they could pursue in the future.
  • 100% of youth could connect their interests and skills to career opportunities.
  • 100% of youth could weigh the pros and cons of future career options.
  • 78% of youth had a better idea of what they might do after high school.

This annual event usually takes place in early May with registration and paper submission due April 1. Some participants are chosen to then represent Michigan at the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute in Des Moines, Iowa, usually held in October. Think about how this opportunity could enhance your path to your future!

If you have questions or would like to talk with either of the Michigan Youth Institute coordinators, contact Brian Wibby at or 906-251-1417 or Deb Barrett at or 269-240-1986.

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development helps to prepare young people for successful futures.  For more information or resources on career exploration, workforce preparation, financial education, or entrepreneurship, email us at

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