USDA-NIFA Invests Over $10.5 Million to Support Educators, 4-H, and Others in Workforce Training During Pandemic
KANSAS CITY, MO, November 12, 2020 – USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA) today announced an investment of more than $10.5 million to support educators at technical schools, community and junior colleges, and youth development programs across the nation. These institutions are deploying innovative techniques and technologies to continue offering high-quality skill development during these unprecedented times. USDA-NIFA will invest in eight regional or national projects to support their efforts.
“The work of educators in Extension and technical colleges across America to persist in providing effective learning experiences for youth and families has been truly remarkable over the past eight months,” said USDA-NIFA Acting Director Parag Chitnis. “Whether they are 4-H educators delivering programs online, community or junior colleges teaching technical skills, or Cooperative Extension educators serving local farmers, gardeners and families, we are truly inspired by their hard work. NIFA is proud to fund these innovative projects that will not only help during this current health crises, but also will provide innovative STEM program delivery for the future.”
Coupled with nearly a $14 million investment via 31 funded projects awarded through NIIFA’s Agricultural and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) and the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programs to outstanding university and small businesses in September of this year, these grants raise NIFA’s direct investment in COVID-19 response to nearly $25 million. In addition, NIFA capacity funds, already in place in every state through land-grant universities, tribal colleges, and their Agricultural Experiment Stations and Cooperative Extension Services, ensure this investment reaches coast-to-coast to help America’s educators, students, and communities thrive. “It was quickly evident at the onset of the pandemic that agricultural systems, families, and workforce development programs – key focus areas for USDA and our partners – would be greatly impacted by the changes facing our society,” Chitnis said. “USDA-NIFA is uniquely positioned to fund rapid response research, outreach, and education efforts, while continuing to support our base research, education, Extension and 4-H youth development programs that respond daily to producer and consumer needs, large and small, across the nation.”
USDA-NIFA competitive and capacity funds, totaling over $1.7 billion annually, are invested and at work in local communities every day across America. To find out more about how these critical funds help in your community, visit http://www.nifa.usda.gov or your state’s Cooperative Extension Service website.
NIFA-funded programs support multiple themes outlined in the USDA Science Blueprint and move us closer to meeting the goals outlined in USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda.