Special program will provide training and internships to Native American students, as well as students of color.

Chemeketa Community College, in partnership with Wisdom of the Elderberry, has been awarded a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant. Through the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Chemeketa’s Traditional Ecological Knowledge Workforce Development (TEKWD) project will expand and improve its Agricultural workforce training program by developing innovative curriculum and providing paid internships for Native Americans and other students of color who enroll in Chemeketa Community College’s Horticulture program. The goal of this project is to increase the number of students pursuing certificates in Irrigation and/or Crop Health, as well as Horticulture degrees. Key activities include Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) courses and paid internships, mentoring, and career guidance that will help Horticulture students persist in their educational endeavors, ultimately leading to increased earned certificates and successful careers in the industry. Activities begin spring 2021 and the 5-year grant is funded at $465,000.

Rose High Bear, Founder of Wisdom of the Elderberry Farm stated, “Wisdom of the Elderberry Farm has created an experiential workforce learning model for Native American students and other students of color who are interested in horticultural or agricultural career pathways. We are excited to provide our culturally-tailored TEK curriculum to the community in this special five-year partnership with Chemeketa Community College.”

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, AFRI Agricultural Workforce Training Priority Area, award #2020-10689.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Salem, Ore., February 24, 2021| Contact: Marie Hulett, marie.hulett@chemeketa.edu, 503.399.2530

2021-02-24 Press Release Grant for Agricultural Programs (PDF)