Missouri 4-H career-readiness programs get $75,000 boost

4-H Website

Missouri 4-H has received $75,000 from Healthy Blue’s affiliated Foundation to help young people across the state explore colleges and careers.

The 4-H Youth Futures College Within Reach program, developed by the University of Missouri Extension and Lincoln University Cooperative Extension, is a college orientation program that includes ongoing local mentoring, campus visits, and a conference on the MU campus.

“This generous grant from Healthy Blue’s affiliated Foundation will allow us to expand the 4-H Youth Futures program statewide by offering 4-H Youth Futures Special Interest Clubs in every region of Missouri,” said Donna Garcia, state 4-H youth development specialist.

Healthy Blue is a Medicaid product administered by Missouri Care Inc. under contract with the Missouri Department of Social Services.

The 4-H Youth Futures SPIN Club is a condensed, six-week program that allows youths to begin learning about higher education options, the steps necessary to enroll in college, and explore possible majors and career options. The goal is to introduce 4-H SPIN Club members to the yearlong Youth Futures program in an effort to increase high school graduation rates and enhance workforce development efforts for Missouri, Garcia said.

Missouri 4-H has become a national leader in college and career readiness, with more than half a dozen other states adopting the 4-H Youth Futures program, she said. The program received the 2020 National Extension Diversity Award, presented jointly by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Cooperative Extension System, and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

The grant has been awarded to the Missouri 4-H Foundation, the private resource partner of the MU Extension 4-H Center for Youth Development.

“Connecting youth to higher education is a fundamental role of Missouri 4-H,” said Rachel Augustine, Missouri 4-H Foundation director. “This program extension funded by Healthy Blue’s affiliated Foundation will help young people and their families develop the knowledge and skills to succeed in college and their careers.”

For more information about the 4-H Youth Futures SPIN Club program and other online and in-person 4-H programming, visit 4h.missouri.edu