Search Google Appliance

Food Industry leadership Center

Graduating into a job

For the past six years, every single graduate from the Portland State University Food Industry Leadership Center (FILC) got a job right out of college. No, that is not a misprint or an exaggeration. That's a 100% job placement rate. Why is that? "We've got lots of friends in the industry," said Executive Director Tom Gillpatrick. "What I mean is, the program was designed with partners such as Kroger, Target, Nike, and others to fill their needs." Essentially, FILC is tailor-made for industry jobs and that is what drives companies to recruit its graduates.

In fact, in 2008, PepsiCo recruited at 16 schools around the country. With the economic slump, jobs were harder to come by this year, and PepsiCo approached only Portland State and one other school. Gillpatrick is seeing similar situations from Costco Wholesale, Nestlé Purina PetCare, and Frito-Lay.

"There are jobs out there," said Gillpatrick, "but companies want employees that can get to work fast.” That means students don't just learn about the industry, they are knee deep in it from the first day. Students learn from guest speakers in every class, visit manufacturers, mentor with industry execs, go to trade shows and networking events, work as interns, and countless other real world experiences. "Engagement is built into every class at Portland State," said Gillpatrick. "Our biggest strength is the depth of our connection. We want our students to feel not just part of the University, but part of the industry itself."


Request FILC info:

Explore this and
other programs at:
Preview Day

Where are they now


Crystal IbarraCrystal Ibarra, 2009

Assistant Buyer, Fred Meyer

"The FILC certificate program requires that you do one internship, in my case I chose Fred Meyer. I am now an assistant buyer for the company and could not have gained my position had it not been for the internship."

Lidiya SmityukhLidiya Smityukh, 2009

Human Resources Coordinator, Pacific Natural Foods

"I was encouraged to participate in events, get to know people in the industry, and develop these contacts. It made it easier for me to get a job."

Roger BatesRoger Bates, 2000

Food Relay Manager, Fred Meyer

"When I needed some information or if I needed to get in contact with somebody, they had the answers, they had the connections, and they had the tools to help me. The support was just phenomenal."

Lisa KrederLisa Kreder, 2009

District Sales, Frito Lay Inc.

"Probably the best thing about the program was the guest speakers and interaction with people in the industry. We took tours of a crab factory and winery. It allowed me to figure out what I liked and didn't like."