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USDA Grant to Help Invite OR Hispanic Students into Ag, Tech Careers


Wednesday, December 1, 2021   

SALEM, Ore. -- A new project with a grant from the federal government aims to invite Hispanic students in Oregon into agriculture and technology careers.

Chemeketa Community College in the Willamette Valley has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The project will provide tuition waivers and paid internships for high school students, and place 12 agriculture science students from the college as mentors in local high schools.

Tim Ray, dean of Agriculture Science and Technology at the college, wants to fight the misconception farm-related work is only done in the fields.

"It's really training folks around how to manage agricultural enterprises, and work with all of the technology that is included in producing the food, fiber and fuel that runs the world," Ray explained.

He pointed out there are science-based jobs in agriculture, as well as opportunities in marketing and finance. The grant will direct nearly $275,000 to Chemeketa.

Ray noted the college is working hard to offer courses, especially on the non-credit side, in multiple languages.

"That's important to us; to eliminate that language barrier, as much as possible," Ray emphasized. "We try to have bilingual staff in the building."

The USDA has been selecting projects from Hispanic-Serving Institutions of higher education, including Chemeketa, to fund through grants.

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