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New USDA Internship Program for Students from Migrant and Farmworker Backgrounds

Posted by Joyce El Kouarti, Communications Director, Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement in Equity Initiatives
Jul 27, 2023
HEP Camp interns and USDA staff

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched a new internship program for students from migrant and farmworker backgrounds this summer.

Last month eight students began paid, 10-week summer internships in Washington, D.C. with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) to gain work experience and learn about career opportunities available within the Department.

“As an intern for the USDA Office of Partnership and Public Engagement, I’ve had the opportunity to shadow the acting chief of staff and coordinate with different program liaisons to accomplish our work,” said intern Abigail Sanchez. “I’ve learned first-hand about the importance of USDA’s partnership role with many different groups. This opportunity has really piqued my interest in for working for USDA after I graduate from college.”

“These internships allow USDA to provide work experience to aspiring young leaders while making them aware of the many career opportunities within the Department,” said Lisa Ramirez, director of the Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement, which administers the program. “This partnership with the National HEP/CAMP Association reaffirms USDA’s commitment to strengthening diversity, equity and inclusion within USDA.”

The program was created in partnership with the National HEP/CAMP Association, comprised of universities, colleges and nonprofit organizations that administer such programs. The High School Equivalency Program (HEP) helps students who have dropped out of high school get their High School Equivalency credential and serves more than 6,000 students annually, many from underserved backgrounds. The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) helps students in their first year of college with academic, personal, and financial support and serves approximately 2,400 migrant participants annually.

“Something that I hoped for as an intern was the opportunity to grow my network,” said Adilene Martinez-Carmona, an intern at NRCS. “During my time as an intern, I have met many USDA employees and gained insight into the various responsibilities and agencies that make up USDA. Right now, I’m working on a project to help ensure alignment between agency and departmental policy.”

This internship is part of USDA’s commitment to ensuring equitable access to the Department’s programs, services, and resources by underserved communities. Learn more about USDA support for minority-serving institutions.

USDA also offers numerous resources for migrant and farmworkers, including more than 25 education programs to develop students and food and agricultural professionals. Many of these programs may support scholarship, tuition, room and board, and living stipend for eligible students. Learn more about USDA agricultural workforce development.

Category/Topic: Equity Initiatives