USDA NIFA prepares the next generation of agricultural workforce

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Happy Labour Day! Observed on the first Monday in September, Labor Day is an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the holiday is rooted in the late 19th century, when labor activists lobbied for a federal holiday to recognize the many contributions workers made to strength, prosperity and good. -being of America.

At the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), it is paramount to recognize the contributions not only of employees, but also of those served by the agency. That’s why, under the leadership of Undersecretary Vilsack and the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is empowering people and improving lives by prioritizing goals like making the USDA a place to work ideal for its employees and to advance racial justice, equity, opportunity and rural prosperity. .

Preparing the next generation of the agricultural workforce is a great example of these goals in action, and a new NIFA initiative does just that. The From Learning to Leading: Cultivating the Next Generation of Diverse Food and Agriculture Professionals (NEXTGEN) program focuses on supporting and preparing students for the wide range of diverse careers in food, agriculture, natural resources and humanities through research, education and extension, with an emphasis on employment in the federal government sector. The goal of the program is to enable eligible institutions to engage, recruit, retain, train and support students to help build and support the next generation through meaningful experiential learning experiences, scholarships and student engagement activities. Key areas of interest include:

  • Paid experiential learning opportunities in food, agriculture, natural resources, and humanities, and at USDA for undergraduate and graduate students and other learning communities
  • Scholarships to support the recruitment, retention, and graduation of students who earn an eligible degree, certification, and/or credential
  • Non-formal education activities that cultivate interest in and exposure to careers in food, agriculture, natural resources, humanities and related disciplines among youth and other community d learners on non-traditional academic or career paths, such as return-to-work program participants, job-seeking seniors, and formerly incarcerated individuals
  • Recruitment, retention, and innovative initiatives to attract students to agricultural streams and career paths and improve understanding of the processes and pathways leading to training and employment opportunities in the federal sector, particularly at the USDA

More information about the NEXTGEN program, including the full RFA, is available online. Tenders are accepted until October 25.

Top image: Full length shot of a farmer working on his farm with a colleague in the background. Courtesy of Adobe Stock.

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