Rep. Costa Announces $783,000 For Valley Colleges & Universities

Dec 17, 2010
Press Release

Funding will strengthen agriculture and water science programs, boost enrollment for Hispanic students

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jim Costa today announced $783,000 in federal funds for West Hills College, Coalinga, and California State University, Fresno. The funding, made available through USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), will support the Valley’s agriculture economy by expanding academic programs in agriculture and water science. This includes investments in curriculum development, infrastructure and equipment expansion, and recruitment efforts across the Valley and in underserved communities with high populations of Hispanic students.

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“These funds are a down payment on our Valley’s future and an investment in our agriculture economy,”“These programs will train the next generation of farmers, leaders, and entrepreneurs who will keep our economy growing and competitive in a global market.” said Costa.

Costa also highlighted the impact the funding will have on increasing enrollment in underserved communities like Hispanic students. Currently, only half of college-age Hispanics are enrolled in college-degree programs in the United States.

Increasing student recruitment in our Valley’s underserved areas and Hispanic communities is critical to promoting economic opportunity across the region,” added Costa. “This good news is a testament to the hard work of West Hills College and CSU Fresno, and highlights the importance of advancing education here in our Valley.”

The funding is part of NIFA’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education grants program. Recipients of the funding have an average Hispanic undergraduate enrollment of 49 percent. The funding is broken down between West Hills College and two projects at CSU Fresno.

"The faculty and staff in the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology are proud of the role we play in the agricultural economy of the valley,” said Dr. Charles Boyer, Dean of Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (CSU Fresno). “These grants will allow us to better serve our educational and research missions and engage all students including Hispanic students.”

“This grant positions our college in Coalinga to address the significant shortage of trained personnel in this Natural Resources Management area while strengthening our relationship with Fresno State’s Agricultural program,” said Dr. Frank Gornick, Chancellor of West Hills Community College District.

CSU, Fresno ($245,000)

CSU Fresno was awarded $245,000 to increase the number of graduates in Food and Agricultural Sciences by 10-20% and meet the growing research and development demands of the Valley’s agriculture and food processing industries. The funding will allow CSU Fresno to acquire advanced scientific equipment, increase the program’s infrastructure and research capabilities, and enhance recruiting efforts. The expansion will play a role in helping our Valley’s agriculture and food processing industries continue to sustain growth and remain competitive in a global market.


CSU, Fresno ($290,000)


CSU, Fresno was awarded $290,000 to develop an Agricultural Education Orientation program that will recruit and enroll students from across the region. The program aims to enroll 20 students each year who will be exposed to career opportunities in the agricultural education field.  One qualified, underrepresented student who completes the program and is majoring in Agricultural Education at CSU, Fresno will receive full financial assistance covering their educational expenses for two academic years allowing them to focus on their education and career success, which would not be possible without such support.


West Hills College, Coalinga ($248,000)


West Hills College, Coalinga was awarded $248,000 to address the shortage of students entering careers in irrigation and natural resources. The funds will go towards creating two new academic programs in Irrigation Technology and Natural Resource Management to build upon their existing Agricultural Engineering Technology program. Along with developing new curriculum, the funding will allow West Hills to purchase new equipment and classroom technology. The College will also use the funds to boost enrollment by increasing recruiting across the Valley and in underserved communities with high populations of Hispanics.