USDA Seeks Next Generation of Diverse Food/Ag Professionals
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new initiative to support and prepare students for the expansive array of diverse careers in the food, agriculture, natural resources, & human sciences (FANH) across research, education, and extension, with an emphasis on federal government sector employment. The new program, From Learning to Leading: Cultivating the Next Generation of Diverse Food and Agriculture Professionals (NEXTGEN), will grant up to $250 million in funding to enable eligible institutions to engage, recruit, retain, train, and support students in order to help build the next generation of the FANH workforce.
When is the application deadline? October 25, 2022
What are the anticipated award amounts? Grants will range from minimum award amounts of $500,000 to maximum award amounts of $5 million, $10 million, and $20 million based upon the grant type (tiers) described below.
Who is eligible to apply? Section 1006 of the American Rescue Plan, as amended by Section 22007 of the Inflation Reduction Act (Pub.L 117-169) defines eligible applicants as 1890 land-grant institutions, 1994 land-grant institutions, Alaska Native serving institutions and Native Hawaiian serving institutions, Hispanic-serving institutions [specifically, the certified Hispanic-serving agricultural colleges and universities (HSACUs)], and insular area institutions of higher education located in the U.S. territories.
It is recommended that applicants propose efforts designed to build and sustain partnerships with organizations who have a vested public interest in developing a diverse workforce in food and agriculture, broadly speaking. These entities serve as connectors between the eligible institutions, their students, and USDA to cultivate interest in pursuing careers in FANH.
What project types will be funded?
a) Student Scholarship Projects (SSP) SSP funded projects support the eligible institutions to develop scholarship programs that will recruit, retain, expand career awareness across the diverse sectors of FANH, including allied disciplines, and increase graduation rates of students and the participation rates in internship programs and experiential learning opportunities.
b) Experiential Learning Projects (ELP) ELP funded projects provide support for paid domestic or international experiential learning opportunities for students to promote a better awareness and understanding of the wide array of career opportunities across the agricultural enterprise including those at USDA, while developing their professional skills and training.
c) Outreach and Engagement Projects (OEP) OEP funded projects provide support to institutions to: (a) Develop educational content, activities, media and digital campaigns, marketing materials, and opportunity matching services to enhance youth’s understanding of the myriad career opportunities which exist across FANH and USDA; (b) involve youth and other communities of learners in the design, execution, and evaluation of meaningful activities that connect to FANH and USDA; (c) engage students as ambassadors for FANH and allied disciplines with youth and other community of learners, as well as other relevant activities; (d) build awareness of the range of agriculture-related career opportunities in FANH and at USDA; as well as understanding of processes and pathways to Federal employment.
What are the grant types?
Tier 1: supports multi-State/Tribal/Territory projects that include a partnership between the lead applicant and at least two other eligible institutions across a minimum of two states, territories, and/or tribal nations. Tier 1 projects must integrate the three project types and are expected to develop and/or replicate best practices, including student recruitment and support/retention practices, across partner institutions. All partners must have a significant role in the collaboration and each institution’s budget needs to be appropriate to support its activities. These grants will be funded at up to $20 Million for a period of five years.
Tier 2: supports multi-institution projects to include a partnership between the lead applicant and at least one other eligible institution within or outside their home State. Tier 2 projects must integrate at least two of the three project types and are expected to develop and/or replicate best practices across partner institutions. All partners must have a significant role in the collaboration and each institution’s budget needs to be appropriate to support its activities. These grants will be funded at up to $10 Million for a period of five years.
Tier 3: supports single-institution projects that integrate at least two of the three project types and will be funded at up to $5 Million for a period of five years. Tier 3 applicants are welcome to partner with other institutions.
What cost sharing or match does the program require? The NEXTGEN Program has no matching requirement. NIFA will not factor matching resources into the review process as an evaluation criterion.
The full Request for Applications can be found here.
Morrison has extensive experience writing successful applications for clients for USDA programs. For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 530-893-4764.