With just over a million people in its metropolitan area, Fresno is the largest city in the Inland Empire of California, and is the fifth largest in the state.
Located between the Southern Coast Range and the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Central California, this city is in the midst of some of America's most productive farmland, and is known in agricultural circles as the biggest producer of raisins (dried grapes) in the nation.
Nearly every food crop that is not tropical in origin is grown in the Central Valley that surrounds Fresno, making this city a major hub for agribusiness in the United States.
What’s Fresno like?
Located in the middle of the Central Valley, Fresno is mostly flat in its terrain, making it an easy place to bike for those who use them regularly for recreation and/or as a primary mode of transportation. Being a small city, Fresno's public transport system consists exclusively of buses, which run on 19 routes, 3 of which link up with the suburban community of Clovis in the east.
If you use a car or bicycle to commute to your internship, be vigilant about securing it when you park them, as Fresno's theft rate for motor vehicles and bicycles are above the national average.
Those enthusiastic about the outdoors will love the fact that Yosemite National Park is within an hour drive of downtown, allowing for many fun excursions amidst some of America's most beautiful mountain scenery.
If you don't like the idea of rain clouds ruining your day, Fresno will be an excellent move for you, as the dry Mediterranean climate that allows agriculture to thrive means that moist days occur only in sparing amounts, with most rain falling in the winter. Bright sunshine rules from late spring through to the fall, with only a thimbleful of rain falling during this period, amounting to little more than an inch of precipitation.
As mentioned off the top of the article, agriculture is big business in this city, accounting for one out of every three jobs on average. From those that work in the fields in quality control, to those that oversee the transformation of local crops into products ready for sale in grocery stores across the world, there is plenty of opportunity in Fresno for those interested in agribusiness.
Another big employer in this city is the health care sector, which is ramping up as the population of Fresno gets steadily older over time.
What kinds of internships are available in Fresno?
Of all the agrifood companies operating in Fresno, the one that stands out in offering internships to promising students and graduates is Foster Farms, which specializes in poultry products. They offer placements for everything from food scientists to production supervisors, in addition to the typical white collar positions (financial analysts, accountants, etc).
Kaiser Permanente is one of the biggest health care providers in the area, and there are other options like Saint Agnes Medical Center and the Community Regional Medical Center, which offer a full slate of health care related internships to bright individuals up for the challenge they provide.
How to find internships in Fresno
While unemployment here isn't as dire as it was in the depths of the Great Recession (the rate topped out at a ghastly high of 18%), don't let the present day figure of 9% make you complacent. There are many motivated members in your peer group wanting to gain an internship at a local employer as badly as you do, so get busy with volunteering in relevant community organizations.
For those seeking to get on with companies like Foster Farms, experience in groups like 4H, or an employment history that includes work on farms will make you stick out among your less involved competition.
Meanwhile, those seeking to get on board with Kaiser Permanente will be in good shape by giving your time to volunteer projects that help the health of those less fortunate, be it in an inner city clinic near you, or in a village in the third world when you are traveling on your gap year.