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USDA invests $14 million in workforce trainings for underserved

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Although farming provides an opportunity for anyone willing to get down in the dirt, it can be a harsh industry to get a start in — especially for traditionally underserved communities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is working to ensure that underserved farmers have access to workforce training. An additional $14 million has been invested as part of the American Rescue Plan.

This funding comes from growing concerns for food security and domestic production. The USDA hopes that the U.S. meat and poultry sector will be bolstered by providing support for improved and increased workforce training to historically underserved communities.

Minorities have made incredible contributions to the agriculture sector: helping to bolster technology, leading and developing leaders, and providing opportunities for much-needed change and resiliency to operations. The USDA invests in programs to serve these individuals by providing further training and support management opportunities.

Funding for the program will come from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Request for the application process to eligible universities. Selected organizations have illustrated their commitment to underserved producer communities and include institutions that serve minors, Hispanics, and tribal entities. Qualified applicants included the Centers of Excellence at 1890 Land-grant Universities, 1994 Land-grant Tribal Colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian institutions, and participants in the Resident Instruction Grants Program for Institutions of Higher Education in Insular Areas.

»Related: 3 minority-serving agricultural programs for students to know about

Chief Scientist Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, undersecretary for research, education, and economics describes the need for such programs saying, “These investments provide critical support to our higher education partners to increase rural prosperity and economic sustainability of food systems in underserved agricultural communities. Food insecurity and food system interruptions have hit underserved communities hardest during the ongoing pandemic. By investing in education and workforce development at these institutions, we are training the workforce of the future to develop long-lasting solutions to these and other critical agricultural issues facing our nation.”

Grants for Hispanic-serving institutions are competitive among qualifying higher education institutions. Information on funding opportunities is available on the NIFA website. The deadline to submit applications is Monday, August 29, 2022, by 5:00 p.m. Eastern.

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