USDA isn’t just talking, but taking action to help Hispanic Americans. The department stepped forward today as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Sandra V. Serrano of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will build programs and other activities to help further the education of Hispanic Americans and contribute to the commitment of preparing America’s young people to pursue careers in agriculture.
The agreement highlights USDA’s dedication to helping Hispanic Americans achieve educational excellence by collaborating with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) to develop a USDA and Hispanic-Serving Institutions agenda.
“Working with our partners, we can help meet the Obama administration’s goal of raising a generation of Americans who are ready to lead their communities and strengthen the economy and quality of life across America,” said Vilsack.
The MOU will allow USDA to provide the HACU network with information on available employment, scholarships, internships, fellowships and cooperative education opportunities for qualified students and faculty. USDA also will participate in on-campus career orientation and recruitment activities, and coordinate planning for pre-collegiate and collegiate programs for students.
“Today’s MOU is another step in the long-standing and fruitful relationship HACU has with the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” said Serrano, who chairs the HACU Governing Board and is chancellor of the Kern Community College District. HACU has collaborated with USDA for the past 15 years to enhance agriculture-related programs and opportunities available to Hispanic Americans. “It continues to be one of the premier partnerships HACU has with a federal agency.”
All agencies within USDA will be encouraged to establish partnerships with HACU-member institutions to promote research and outreach in areas of mutual interest and provide operational support, including sponsorship of conferences and events relevant to USDA.
“Today’s students are tomorrow’s innovators, and providing educational support is a vital component of promoting agriculture,” said Vilsack.
The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities was established in 1986 with a founding membership of 18 institutions. Today, HACU represents nearly 450 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America, Spain and Portugal.
“Hispanics are leaders in all aspects of our national life, from the Supreme Court and halls of Congress to boardrooms and Main Streets,” said President Barack Obama in a proclamation honoring National Hispanic Heritage month. “In reflecting on our nation’s rich Hispanic heritage, let us take pride in our unique and vibrant history, and recommit to a shared future of freedom, prosperity, and opportunity for all.”