Washington, Oct 8 (EFE) .- The federal Department of Agriculture announced on Friday an investment of 12 million dollars in higher education institutions aimed at Hispanics, in order to persuade more Latinos to seek careers in the country’s agri-food industry .
“There are thousands of job opportunities available in (the area of) agriculture and food, and we want to make sure that we are opening these opportunities to the maximum number of students possible,” the United States Secretary of Agriculture said in an interview with Efe, Tom Vilsack.
For the Department of Agriculture, it is an “absolute necessity to work more closely with Hispanic educational institutions”, which each year educate more than 3.2 million students nationwide, to encourage more Latinos to aspire to ” leadership positions “in the agri-food sector, Vilsack explained.
The new investment will benefit universities and other institutions in the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Texas, as well as in Puerto Rico, the Department of Agriculture said in a statement.
The investments seek to promote “research” on the sector and open avenues, through scholarships, for more Hispanic youth to access “opportunities to work with the people of the Department of Agriculture, and learn about what a career would entail” in that area, he said. Vilsack.
In addition, the funds will help universities such as California State University in Long Beach or Florida International University in Miami “attract, retain, and enable underrepresented students seeking careers in agriculture, natural resources and human sciences to graduate from underrepresented backgrounds.” , according to a statement from the Department of Agriculture.
Hispanics already make up the majority of hired farm workers in the country, according to the Department of Agriculture, and Vilsack said he remains focused on the need to “improve conditions and opportunities” for those employees.
At the same time, however, the Administration of President Joe Biden considers it necessary to encourage more Latinos to also seek opportunities in “the economy of agriculture” that are not limited only to working in the fields.
“We need people of all backgrounds to occupy leadership positions and to (manage) the food supply and the food and agriculture system in this country,” stressed Vilsack.