Extension Educator-Fixed

Michigan State University - East Lansing, MI4.3

Full-timeEstimated: $55,000 - $68,000 a year
The MSU Product Center is a nationally recognized leader in improving economic opportunities in the agriculture, food and bio-processing sectors. The Product Center executes three primary functions that focus on these sectors: (1) to help small-scale Michigan entrepreneurs develop and commercialize new and emerging high-value products, (2) to assist in the expansion of growth oriented and large-scale ventures, and (3) to develop economic and market intelligence to support growth of the related industries.

The Product Center forms a bridge between entrepreneurs and support services, offering business/marketing resources and technical/scientific resources, while drawing from a blend of internal expertise and external partnering of MSU campus staff, faculty, specialists, a statewide innovation counselor network, and various external public and private partners. It is the Product Center director that manages this “doorway” into the university and all of the associated resources necessary to execute the primary vision of "being the go-to place for venture development assistance and market assessment research in the food, agriculture and bio-processing sectors of Michigan." Over the nearly 15 years since its inception, the Product Center participated in the launching of more than 500 known new businesses and business expansions, increased annual sales nearly $500 million (cumulative first year sales only), increased the value of investment $463 million, created 2,638 jobs and retained 2,080 jobs. The Center recently launched a new $5.5 million facility called the Food Processing and Innovation Center (FPIC) that houses a universal food processing plant to serve the expansion and scale-up needs of larger growth-oriented food businesses. This one-of-a-kind facility has further expanded the reach of the Product Center within the food sector. The Product Center’s stakeholders eagerly look forward to the identification of a new director that will bring new energy and leadership.

In addition to a well-established base of stakeholder supporters, the Product Center benefits from its alignment with Michigan State University Extension, a statewide organization with more than 600 employees geographically dispersed throughout Michigan (https://www.canr.msu.edu/outreach/). The Product Center staff includes a 10-member network of MSU Extension trained innovation counselors providing local linkages to clientele throughout Michigan. As part of the MSU Extension Community, Food and Environment Institute, the Product Center director will have access to a business support office and grant support team in addition to strong local community linkages. The Product Center also maintains an affiliation with a team of Ph.D. and M.S. holders with a broad set of food production expertise, including process authority review, nutrition labeling, sensory analysis, and meat processing expertise, and the campus assets of a top-100 university with a strong focus on the food and agricultural sectors and value-chain development.

Michigan State University Extension seeks an individual with the personal and intellectual skills and experience to manage a university center with a creative and entrepreneurial spirit by upholding the visions of the University and Product Center, and by strategically engaging internal and external stakeholders.

Characteristic Duties/Responsibilities

Provide the overall strategic direction of the Product Center with particular attention to serving small scale new and emerging ventures, and growth oriented larger scale ventures.
Communicate and interact to evaluate needs, including coordination of economic and market intelligence for clientele, agricultural and food industry associations, government agencies, and other sector leaders.
Provide supervision of Product Center personnel.
Serve as an information resource to direct reports, clientele, partners and Extension staff, including leadership to the annual Making it in Michigan educational conference and new food product trade show.
Act as a resource to direct reports as they develop, conduct, and assist with the development and evaluation of innovative programs that meet current and projected needs of clientele and the MSU Product Center.
Train, mentor, and evaluate staff, ensuring the requirements and objectives of their programming, including the appropriate use of grant funds, are met.
Assist with new staff recruitment efforts, as needed.
Responsible for oversight of the Product Center budget, including short and long-term budget projections and resource procurement necessary for continued success.
Pursue external funding opportunities necessary for the continued growth and success of the Center.
Collaborate with MSU Extension staff to coordinate a Food Processing and Innovation Center (FPIC) advisory committee, and development of strategic industry connections to expand FPIC clientele.
Maintain and expand relationships with internal and external stakeholders, including state and federal agencies, the Michigan Small Business Development Center, entrepreneurship support organizations, food and bio industry associations, and other strategic connections to complete needs assessment of the community/region and develop/guide effective programming.
Create and promote positive public relations for the MSU Product Center, MSU Extension, the Community, Food and Environment Institute, the College of Agricultural and Natural Resources and MSU.
Conduct educational programming that meets the requirements of this position.
Author, produce, and submit regular research-based educational articles.
Develop and utilize appropriate media methods to communicate current and timely information, research results, and relevant industry updates, as well as a schedule of current and future activities.
Provide information and guidance to staff regarding opportunities for learning through the use of mass media, group meetings, workshops and individual contacts.
Actively participate in professional development opportunities.
Gather and report programming outputs and impacts, to demonstrate program effectiveness and to guide future program priorities for the MSU Product Center, MSU Extension, the Community, Food and Environment Institute, and the work group(s) aligned with.
Work with colleagues on a regular basis to review and make needed changes/updates to curriculum and program offerings to meet the needs of diverse participants across, race, gender, socioeconomic class, disabilities and other differences, or to address community specific needs.
Work to ensure that community needs assessments, program development and recruitment efforts include the engagement of Michigan’s diverse residents across race, gender, socioeconomic class, disabilities and other differences.
Understand and implement Civil Rights and diversity, equity and inclusion policies and procedures.

Other duties or projects as assigned by the Institute Director.

Required Degree

Bachelors -Business, Economics, Food Science, Value

Desired Degree

Masters -Business, Economics, Food Science, Value

Minimum Requirements
Master’s degree required; Candidates with a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in a field of study related to business, economics, food science, value chain management or related field, are invited to apply with the understanding that completion of a master’s degree will be required within a specified time frame, in a related field, after employment.
2-years’ supervisory experience.
Experience in business development with a proven record of establishing relationships and working with key partners and stakeholders.
Experience in regional or statewide public/private partnerships in food business development.
Ability to carry out all functions of staff management, remotely.
Demonstrated ability and skill in educational program planning, implementation and evaluation.
Ability to create and carry-out a project plan from research of initial concept to project completion and follow-up.
Experience with marketing/promotion of educational programs.
Strong interpersonal, oral and written communication skills.
Experience and proven ability working productively and collaboratively with a team and across multiple organizations.
Self-motivated with demonstrated ability to work independently in an office environment without daily supervision and/or coaching.
Proficiency in use of technology (e.g. web research, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook for mail/calendaring, distance technology, etc.) for day-to-day work and educational program delivery, record keeping, reporting, team-based communications and overall management.
Demonstrated success in program development and delivery to diverse audiences/communities including but not limited to race, gender, socioeconomic class, disabilities and other differences.
Proven ability in establishing and working with a diverse network of constituents and community members across race, gender, socioeconomic class, disabilities and other differences to assist with program development and outreach.
Understanding of and ability to implement Civil Rights principles and compliance standards.
Understands, supports, and fosters integration of diversity, equity and inclusion practices.
Ability to lift and carry educational materials, equipment, etc. up to 25 lbs.
Ability to travel in local and surrounding communities and occasional long distance travel are required as a regular part of this position.
Transportation is the responsibility of the employee.
Other skills and/or physical abilities required to perform duties of the position.
Desired Qualifications
Advanced degree from an accredited institution in a field of study related to business, economics, food science, value chain management or related field.
Business and venture acceleration leadership experience.
Experience in securing and managing grant funds and resources.
Understanding of the role of state and federal government agencies in development of food-related businesses.
5-years’ experience in food or bio processing sector.
10-years’ of related and progressively more expansive responsibility in a leadership role.
1-year demonstrated ability to manage staff remotely.
Basic understanding of legal issues in regard to food safety, business establishment, business financing, and business ethics.
3-years’ experience in Extension program delivery or demonstrated ability and skill in educational program planning, implementation and evaluation (relevant experience acquired within the last 5-years preferred).
Understanding of diverse food network in Detroit.
Spanish and/or Arabic Bilingual/Bicultural skills.
Knowledge of, or prior experience working with groups like: Cottage Food Law, Starting a Commercial Food Business, and Michigan MarketMaker.
Required Application Materials

Current resume/CV

Cover letter

Four (4) professional references, including at least two (2), current or prior, supervisors

Special Instructions

This position is a full-time, fixed term end-dated appointment renewable annually based upon successful performance and continued funding.

MSU Statement

Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.