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U.S. Department of Agriculture: Secondary Agriculture Education Challenge Grant Program

Deadline: February 6, 2020

The Secondary Agriculture Education Challenge Grant Program (SPECA) program will award grants to:

  1. Enhance the quality of K-14 instruction in order to help meet current and future national food, agricultural, natural resources, and human (FANH) sciences workplace needs
  2. Increase the number and diversity of students who will pursue and complete a 2- or 4-year degree in the FANH sciences

SPECA-funded projects encourage academic institutions, in partnership with organizations and employers, to identify and address challenges facing the FANH sciences education and workforce community. The talent pipeline for the agriculture workforce begins well before college admission and a focus on secondary programs holds tremendous potential to increase not only the number, but the diversity of students entering baccalaureate programs, a requisite for the innovation needed in the FANH sciences. Accordingly, SPECA-funded project activities shall support the creation, adaptation, and adoption of learning materials and teaching strategies to operationalize what is known about how students learn. SPECA-funded projects shall also focus on imparting both technical knowledge as well as ‘soft’ skills such as communication, team work, and problem solving, as these are abilities expected by employers.

Projects must support academic instruction with a primary focus in at least one of the following three K-14 Grade Levels:

  1. Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom (AITC): Projects specifically developed by or for the state AITC program
  2. Secondary School: Projects with a specific focus on any of the academic grades 9 through 12
  3. Junior or Community College: Projects with a specific focus on associate degree level (2-year postsecondary) activities

When preparing a SPECA-funded project, the rationale for choosing a particular Educational Need Area below must be explained in the context of how the project can contribute to the development of a cadre of students who will either pursue higher degrees in the FANH sciences or be prepared to enter the FANH sciences workforce. Educational Need Areas for the SPECA program are:

  1. Curriculum Development, Instructional Delivery Systems, and Expanding Student Career Opportunities
  2. Faculty Preparation and Enhancement for Teaching
  3. Facilitating Interaction with other Academic Institutions

The following describes the types of projects or grants that are eligible for funding:

  • Regular Project
  • Collaborative Grant Type 1 (CG1) (Applicant + One or more Partners)
  • Collaborative Grant Type 2 (CG2) (Applicant + Two or more Partners)

Amount: Approximately $800,000 is available to make awards dependent upon project type, as follows:

  • Regular Project: Applicants may request up to $50,000 (total total over the 24-36 month grant period)
  • Collaborative Grant Type 1: Applicants may request up to $150,000 (total over the 24-36 month grant period)
  • Collaborative Grant Type 2: Applicants may request up to $300,000 (total total over the 24-36 month grant period)

Eligibility: Public secondary schools, public or private nonprofit junior and community colleges, institutions of higher education, or nonprofit organizations.

Link: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=322846

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