Extension Project in Crawford and Marshall Counties Fosters Career and College Readiness in Latino Youth


September 7, 2023, 1:37 pm | Kimberly Greder, Cayla Taylor

AMES, Iowa – Local schools and organizations in Crawford and Marshall counties are partnering with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach to engage Latino families who have youth in middle school. The families will participate in two extension educational programs that foster career and college readiness.

youth explore careers in radio station.The effort is funded by a grant from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. ISU Extension and Outreach will receive $640,000, spread over five years, from USDA-NIFA for this Children, Youth and Families At-Risk Sustainable Community Project.

Latino youth and their families will participate in the “¡Salir Adelante! Pathways for our Future” family workshop series followed by the 4-H Career Pathways Academy, according to Kimberly Greder, a professor in human development and family studies at Iowa State University and director for the grant-funded project.

¡Salir Adelante! Pathways for our Future is a culturally tailored program that brings Latino youth, in grades 6-8, and their families together for six weekly sessions to gain information, develop skills, and expand their social networks to help the youth succeed academically and pursue education and training beyond high school. Sessions are facilitated in Spanish or English depending on the preferences of the families, said Greder, who also is a family wellbeing state specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

After completing ¡Salir Adelante! and when they are in eighth grade, youth will enter the 4-H Career Pathways Academy, said Cayla Taylor, 4-H senior educational program manager and project co-director. During six monthly “Find Your Spark” sessions youth will explore career and postsecondary educational pathways in STEAM, agriculture, healthcare, education, skilled trades and entrepreneurship.

As part of the academy, they’ll also participate in family events throughout the year and have opportunities to visit trade schools, community colleges, 4-year colleges, universities and work sites. In addition, the youth will participate in hands-on experiences related to their career interests and learn about training/apprenticeship opportunities.

hospital simulation learning lab.“The youth will gain a greater understanding of the degrees, certificates or training required for the work they want to do, and they’ll also learn about financial assistance that may be available,” Taylor said.

“As Latino youth from Crawford and Marshall counties participate in these two educational programs, one program after the other, we’ll be better able to engage with the youth and their families long-term,” Greder added. “Youth also will be linked to additional opportunities to strengthen their leadership and life skills, such as the 4-H Connect Retreat, local 4-H clubs and the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference.”

ISU Extension and Outreach partners with schools, organizations and volunteers to implement ¡Salir Adelante! in communities throughout Iowa. Anyone interested in bringing the program to Latino families in their community may contact Kimberly Greder at kgreder@iastate.edu or Rosa Gonzalez, human sciences specialist in family wellbeing, at rdegonza@iastate.edu, for more information.

To learn more about the 4-H Career Pathways Academy, contact Cayla Taylor at cayla@iastate.edu.

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