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USDA and Defense Department Partner to Support Military Families

Media Contact: Jennifer Martin, (202) 720-8188

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2011 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded two grants for universities to develop programs to train U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) staff in their efforts to support military families. The awards were made by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) as part of the Extension-Military Partnership.

“Each year, our military families face unique challenges as their loved ones serve our nation,” said Chavonda Jacobs-Young, acting NIFA director. “These awards will increase the military’s ability to assist families during the transitions of military life.”

The Extension-Military Partnership was established between USDA and DoD in 2010 to support military service members and their families in their communities. The partnership is focused on cultivating collaborations with educational institutions, non-governmental and community-based organizations, and other groups with expertise in early childhood education, youth development and family studies to support military members and their families.

The University of Arizona in Tucson received a grant through the Military Family Readiness System (MFRS) program, to develop high quality, effective and efficient training resources for Family Center/Family Readiness program staff. The training resources will better prepare military professionals to meet the needs of military members and their families by focusing on a social service delivery system model to be used by all services. The system will be developed as a virtual online platform, resulting in a reduction in costs associated with face-to-face training.

George Washington University in Washington, D.C., received a grant through the Second Language & Culture Exposure for Children and Youth Project, which will develop innovative language and cultural programs for military children. This project will review existing research and program materials and policies related to language and culture opportunities for children (up to age 5), and produce training and program materials that can be used by DoD Child & Youth staff.

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. For more information, visit www.nifa.usda.gov.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).