The Mid-Valley STEM-CTE Hub was recently awarded ESSER III After School STEM funds for $150,000 to expand the Latinx Mentor Program for middle school students. This program was collaboratively piloted last year in partnership with Casa Latinos Unidos through a 2021-2023 biennium Youth Development Oregon (YDO) grant.

All statewide STEM Hubs were invited to apply for these funds through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) application process administered by the East Metro STEAM Partnership through the Oregon Department of Education for culturally-specific after school programs.

The ESSER III After School STEM grant prioritizes supporting community and school needs that are grounded in equity, prioritize community wellness, and strengthen high-quality, culturally-specific and responsive programming.

Casa Latinos Unidos is partnering with us to provide culturally-appropriate, learner-relevant career awareness and exploration. CLU will be instrumental with outreach to families by providing workshops on topics like finance and nutrition as well as wraparound services for individuals who have difficulty navigating and accessing services because of linguistic or cultural barriers.

The program was piloted virtually in 2022 with Latinx mentors meeting students via Zoom. This grant will allow us to expand the amount of time each student has with a mentor and the scope of programming available which will include several workshop-style sessions including resource fairs for families through September 2024. Planning is underway so stay tuned!