WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced that Chemeketa Community College will receive a federal grant of over $273,000 to help support a hands-on workforce training initiative preparing students for jobs in the nurseries industry. While learning through hands-on experience, students will also conduct research and share results with local industry leaders, benefitting Oregon’s nurseries businesses.
The grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture. As the top Democrat on the Senate’s agriculture appropriations subcommittee, Merkley oversees funding for USDA programs, and has fought to ensure that USDA grant programs that benefit Oregon get the resources they need.
“During this challenging time, it’s all the more important that we are helping schools, students, and businesses build the foundation for future economic success,” said Merkley. “This grant will not only directly train students for jobs in our nurseries workforce, it will also empower students to conduct research that will help Oregon’s nurseries thrive. This is a win-win, and represents an important investment at a critical moment.”
“Nurseries are a signature Oregon industry that create good jobs throughout our state, and I am glad Chemeketa has earned this federal grant to support training the next generation of Oregonians to work and do research in this sector,” Wyden said. “These smart investments in job training and key research take on an even greater importance during COVID-19 as a means of supporting our state’s economy now, and beyond this public health crisis.”
“Chemeketa Community College is excited and honored to be a recipient of the Agricultural and Food Research Initiative’s (AFRI) Agricultural Workforce Training grant. Agriculture is one of the most important industries in our region, and the need for developing highly skilled workforce talent is at an all-time high. This grant is a timely addition to Chemeketa’s efforts to contribute to a healthy community and continue its mission of providing opportunities for students to explore, learn, and succeed through quality educational experiences and workforce training,” said Chemeketa Community College President Jessica Howard.
Further information on the grant and the programs that it will support can be found here.