Hormel Foundation named ACTE Business-Education Partnership Award winner

Published 3:21 pm Thursday, October 20, 2022

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and its Board of Directors has announced The Hormel Foundation as the ACTE Business-Education Partnership Award Winner. 

The Business-Education Partnership Award celebrates the contributions and achievements of schools and businesses that aid in the development and maintenance of partnerships supporting high-quality career and technical education (CTE).

 The Hormel Foundation launched The Hormel Foundation Austin Assurance Scholarship program in 2019. Since its inception 545 students have received the scholarship which is a partnership between Riverland Community College and Austin High School and Pacelli Catholic High School in Austin, Minnesota.  

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The scholarship provides two years of community college education to qualifying graduates of these two high schools at RCC. The gap scholarship removes the financial barrier for students attaining higher education and is intended to encourage underserved populations to continue their education.  

The scholarship is helping to train the future workforce of our region and help students reach their educational and career goals for themselves and in support of their families.

 The Hormel Foundation has also been instrumental in supporting the Agriculture and Food Science programs at RCC. Before the Foundation’s support was received, there were no on-campus Ag or Food Science programs at Riverland other than the FBM program, despite Ag being one of the largest industries in the region and across the state with more than 500,000 people working in ag or food science. 

Students wanting to major in Ag or Food Science had no options at Riverland and would have to travel to distant colleges to pursue a degree. With early support and encouragement from The Hormel Foundation, Riverland created new degrees in Agricultural and Food Science Technology and received approval from the State of Minnesota to again offer majors in Ag and Food Science. 

The first courses were launched in 2016 with just a few students. Enrollment in the Ag and Food Science programs has grown to 51 students in fall 2020 and another 450+ students in the Farm Business Management program which covers all of southeast Minnesota to the Mississippi River. 

The Foundation has provided more than $2.5 million dollars to the college to create the world-class agriculture academic center at the Austin West Building which includes labs, classrooms, and collaborative working and learning spaces. The Hormel Foundation is currently beginning a partnership with the University of Minnesota and Riverland Community College to develop the Future of Agriculture in America Research in Minnesota that includes a $250 million state-of-the-art research facility located in Mower County, Minnesota.

 “We are so grateful for their generous support to help transform the lives of our students, serve our communities, and create a stronger workforce,” said Riverland President Adenuga Atewologun. “The Hormel Foundation’s investment in education through The Hormel Foundation Austin Assurance Scholarship and their support of Agriculture and Food Science programs will impact generations of students and will help ensure our local employers will have a highly skilled and capable workforce.”

The Hormel Foundation will be recognized alongside other national ACTE award winners at 7 p.m. on Nov. 30, at the annual ACTE Awards Gala. For more information on the Excellence Awards and the Awards Gala, visit http://www.acteonline.org/awards.