The 1890 Center of Excellence to Motivate and Educate for Achievement seeks to boost the collective capacity of the 1890 land-grant institutions to provide supportive learning environments and programs to increase the diversity of the U.S. agricultural workforce spanning careers in food, agriculture, natural resources and human (FANH) sciences.
The 1890 Center of Excellence to Motivate and Educate for Achievement (MEA Center) was funded in 2020 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to increase the diversity of the U.S. agricultural workforce. In 2021, the center expanded and broadened its consortium to expand its reach to a larger, more diverse population of students in agricultural sciences.
As the global leader in agriculture, the U.S. must take the primary role in meeting the world’s need for a more diverse, highly skilled work force that will enable us to meet the food, clothing and natural resource needs of a growing population.
Although 1890 land-grant universities were created largely to provide educational opportunities for African Americans and other minority groups and help address the development of this workforce, their success has been hampered by the lack of student interest, agricultural literacy, STEM skills, financial resources and inter-institutional coordination to overcome barriers to attracting and graduating students. Consequently, there is a need to develop collaborative programs and initiatives at 1890 land-grant universities to significantly increase the number of underrepresented individuals in agricultural careers.