Washington, DC - The Department of the Interior has signed a new Memorandum of Understanding with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities that provides a cooperative framework for Interior and HACU to develop programs that engage the Hispanic community and Hispanic-Serving Institutions. The Bureau of Reclamation will manage the MOU for the Department.

"The Hispanic community is important to the future of Interior and the future of our country," said Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor, who signed the MOU today in a ceremony in Washington with HACU President Antonio R. Flores. "This partnership will help Interior connect with Hispanic students throughout the country as we continue to build a labor force of the best and brightest." "This memorandum of understanding between HACU and the Department of the Interior will do much to encourage underrepresented students to pursue careers in the varied and important divisions under the entire department, as well as increasing DOI's access to a pool of high-achieving undergraduate and graduate students," said Dr. Flores. "We look forward to the benefits and opportunities sure to be created for both the DOI and the growing Hispanic student population in our nation."

Through this MOU, Interior and HACU will promote career opportunities, professional development and research for students, faculty and staff at Hispanic Serving Institutions. Interior will also strategically link its relationship with HACU with its efforts to build a 21st Century diverse workforce.

The MOU will remain in effect for five years and replaces a MOU that expired in March. It can be viewed at: http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/docs/2012-10-23-HACU-MOU.pdf.

Through the previous MOU with HACU, Interior and its Bureaus have worked closely with Hispanic Serving Institutions. Examples include:

  • The Bureau of Land Management worked with Phoenix College in Arizona to develop an Academic Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resource Stewardship.
  • The BLM, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service are working with Adams State University in Alamosa, Colo., to develop a Natural Resource Conservation Curriculum and internship opportunities. The Office of Surface Mining recently signed a MOU and developed a distance-learning course with Adams State University.
  • The National Park Service is initiating a cooperative agreement with Cal Poly Pomona to undertake a documentation project of the "Forty Acres" National Historic Landmark associated with César Chávez and the farm worker movement.