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Johanns expands partnership to enhance Hispanic education, employment

Agriculture.com Staff 03/28/2006 @ 2:20pm

At a forum on Hispanic higher education yesterday, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities to promote educational and employment opportunities for Hispanic students.

The agreement provides a framework to strengthen USDA's programs that serve Hispanic institutions, and contributes to the Agency's goal of promoting agricultural careers among minorities.

"I'm pleased to enhance our partnership with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and the internship, scholarship, fellowship and grant programs USDA offers," Johanns said. "Together, we can improve the educational achievement of Hispanic students and prepare them for successful and rewarding careers."

According to the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, only 10% of Hispanics graduate from four-year colleges and universities.

USDA's initiatives with Hispanic students include:

In 1996, USDA partnered with HACU to provide internship opportunities with USDA. Approximately 100 students work for USDA agencies across the country each year, while pursuing degrees in agricultural science fields. More than 20% of these interns have gone on to work at USDA as permanent employees.

USDA launched the Public Service Leaders Scholarship for Hispanic undergraduate and graduate students in 2002. Selected students receive a two-year scholarship and USDA internship, then work for USDA for a minimum of two years after graduation.

USDA's Hispanic-Serving Institutions Fellows Program brings faculty members at Hispanic-Serving Institutions to work at USDA for two to six weeks each summer. In 2005, 21 participants worked with USDA to learn first-hand about USDA agencies and programs and services.

Each year, USDA invests more than $30 million in educational programs targeting Hispanic students and institutions.

USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service has awarded over $29 million dollars in HSI grants over 60 institutions from 1997 to 2005, as part of Title VIII of the Farm Bill. These grants strengthen the ability of the institutions to carry out higher education programs that attract, retain and graduate outstanding students capable of enhancing agriculture's professional and scientific workforce.

At a forum on Hispanic higher education yesterday, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities to promote educational and employment opportunities for Hispanic students.

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