Extension Foundation Selected by USDA-NIFA as Technical Provider for NEXTGEN Funding Opportunity

The primary goal of the From Learning to Leading: Cultivating the Next Generation of Diverse Food and Agriculture Professionals Program (NEXTGEN) is to enable 1890 Land-grant institutions, 1994 Land-grant institutions, Alaska Native-serving institutions and Native Hawaiian-serving institutions, Hispanic-serving institutions, and insular area institutions of higher education located in the U.S. territories to engage, recruit, retain, train, and support students to help build and sustain the next generation of the food, agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences (FANH) workforce including the future USDA workforce. NextGen supported projects should enable student scholarship support, meaningful paid internships, fellowships, and job opportunity matching, and also facilitating opportunities to learn the processes and pathways leading to training and employment in the federal sector.

The Extension Foundation will raise awareness of the NEXTGEN program and provide technical assistance for eligible institutions to develop teams, partners, program strategies and to connect with USDA and other career opportunities. 

Dr. Dawn Mellion has joined the Extension Foundation to serve as the Program Director for this initiative. Dr. Mellion is the former Vice Chancellor for Extension at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center. 

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) will support the Extension Foundation in their role as a technical provider for NEXTGEN funding. Specifically, Wendy Fink, Assistant Vice President of the Office of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources, will serve to help connect potential institutional partners to one another. 

To learn more about the Extension Foundation’s services for NEXTGEN including upcoming webinars, please visit their website at nextgen.extension.org. 

About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. The Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Land-grant university System, 100% of funds are used to support Land-grant university initiatives.

About APLU

APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. With a membership of more than 250 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations, APLU’s agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research, and expanding engagement. Annually, member campuses enroll 5.0 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.3 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct $49.5 billion in university-based research.