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USDA Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month and Hispanic-Serving Institutions

Posted by Dr. Lisa Ramirez, Director, USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement in Equity Initiatives
Sep 19, 2023
OPPE Director Lisa Ramirez with the 2023 Class of E. Kika De La Garza Fellows

September 15 through October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. USDA recognizes and celebrates the many contributions of Hispanic-Serving Institutions to the education of more than 1.3 million Hispanic students every year.

Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) are accredited and degree-granting institutions of higher education with a full-time Hispanic student enrollment of 25 percent or more. Currently, there are more than 500 HSIs nationally, serving more than 2 million students.

Here at USDA, we work with Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Minority-Serving Institutions across the country to advance scientific research, develop the leaders of tomorrow, and train the next generation of USDA employees and STEM professionals.

At USDA, we have a Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) National Program Office within our Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement that serves as the gateway for HSIs to connect with USDA. Through this program, USDA has strategically stationed liaisons at various HSIs across the country in states like California, Texas, Illinois, Florida, and New York. These USDA liaisons serve as champions and personal resources for HSIs and their students, in addition to Hispanic farmers and ranchers in their local communities.

This week, the USDA HSI National Program will host the Third Annual USDA HSI Federal Resource Symposium where HSI representatives are invited to attend virtually and learn about USDA resources available to Hispanic-Serving Institutions. For 33 years, USDA has partnered with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), which works to advance the educational excellence of Hispanic students across the country. Through this partnership, USDA has hosted more than 400 faculty and staff members from Hispanic-Serving Institutions through the E. Kika De La Garza Fellowship, building a network of educators trained to bring the full range of USDA programs and opportunities to their institutions and students. Furthermore, USDA continues to be one of the largest federal partners of the HACU National Internship Program, providing career-building USDA internships to more than 3,000 students since 1994.

USDA is committed to building a workforce that is reflective of the diversity of the country we serve and that will represent and serve all Americans. Please join all of us here at USDA in recognizing Hispanic-Serving Institutions nationwide, which are working to develop exciting and fulfilling pathways for the next generation of leaders to have careers in agriculture, nutrition, food, development, and natural resources.

Category/Topic: Equity Initiatives