NCERA_old216: Latinos and Immigrants in Midwestern Communities

(Multistate Research Coordinating Committee and Information Exchange Group)

Status: Inactive/Terminating

NCERA_old216: Latinos and Immigrants in Midwestern Communities

Duration: 10/01/2014 to 09/30/2019

Administrative Advisor(s):

NIFA Reps:

Non-Technical Summary

Statement of Issues and Justification

Nature and Significance of the Issue

The integration of Latinos and immigrants is a long-term process that continues to be an increasingly important challenge for policymakers, academic scholars, community organizations, and practitioners. At the national level, the Latino population increased by 43% between 2000 and 2010 (Ennis, Rios-Vargas, & Albert 2011), while in the Midwest it increased by 49% during the same period (See Appendix A). Today there are nearly five million Latinos in the Midwest, comprising approximately 7% of the regional population (Humes, Jones, & Ramirez, 2011).

As the Latino population continues to grow, its integration into the structural and cultural features of the larger communities of which they are part becomes more and more imperative. Integration, however, is occurring within structures of inequality that are reproducing patterns consistent with those of historical race/ethnic minorities. The resulting "integration" has contributed to increases in segregation, education achievement gaps, and racial division of labor patterns (Guzmán, Reyes, Palacios, & Carolan-Silva 2011).

A core challenge is to better integrate Latinos and immigrants into our organizational and civic structures because they are becoming an increasingly important part of the social and economic fabric of the region. The challenge is double-edged in the sense that newcomers need to develop the capacity to function within existing institutions at the same time that organizations need to develop the capacity to effectively provide services to newcomers and to incorporate them into their operational processes.

Over the past four years, NCERA 216 participants have created interstate research and outreach working groups in five thematic areas (Families and Family Involvement in Education, Entrepreneurs and Economic Development, Building Immigrant-Friendly Communities, Building Diverse Organizations, and Civic Engagement). Their work has been published in research newsletters, reports, refereed journals, and books (See Appendix B). Several research projects are currently underway that will continue to yield results that will further advance related fields of research and provide the intellectual basis for effective practice. However, the work must continue, as mentioned above, the integration of Latinos and immigrants is a long-term process and challenge.

Relevance to National and Regional Priorities

The principal stakeholders for the renewed NCERA include residents of rural and urban Midwestern communities that have expanding Latino/immigrant populations, researchers and extension/outreach personnel, community service delivery personnel, and other practitioners who desire to collaborate with new and long-term residents in their communities to transform existing relations, build on existing assets and forms of capital, and create opportunities to improve community wellbeing.

The proposed renewal of NCERA 216 fits the North Central regions high priority on research because it will continue to:

1) Develop high quality scholarship that contributes to a better understanding of quality of life of Latinos and immigrants in the Midwest. The growing corpus of knowledge, built on a cross-cutting multidisciplinary and multistate research design, will be augmented by this NCERA and the impacts of the knowledge will be disseminated throughout the region, especially in areas in which there is limited research and considerable need and public concern.
2) Bring together researchers, extension/outreach specialists and community partners with common interests and research agendas to exchange information and expertise about improving the quality of life of new populations. The effort will encourage comparison studies across states and build communities of practice among extension professionals and other change-oriented organizations working with Latinos/immigrants throughout the region.
3) Strengthen opportunities to obtain funding for multistate as well as single-state work related to Latinos and immigrants. By continuing to build multistate research networks and communities of practice, individuals with strong research and outreach skills and knowledge will develop more competitive proposals than if individuals from each state were to seek funding on their own.
4) Disseminate peer-review scholarship, working papers, presentations, videos and policy briefs to communities impacted by the growth of Latinos and immigrants. Information will be archived on the web pages of the Julian Samora Research Institute at Michigan State University and the Cambio de Colores Center at the University of Missouri.

Priority Experiment Station objectives that relate to research and outreach activities designed to involve Latinos and immigrants in their new Midwestern communities include the following (see Guidelines for Multistate Research Activities, Revised October, 2011, p. 36-37.):

1) Improve community and rural economic development, including home-based business and small businesses. Design strategies to develop social, human and economic capital (Economic Development and Policy (ED&P objective).
2) Improve communities by assessing support services for citizens and immigrants in education, health, job creation, housing, recreational opportunities, communication, conflict resolutions and other avenues needed to ensure rural vitality (SC&D objective). Increase the capacity of support services to work with diverse groups and provide recommendations and training on how to make services more accessible.
3) Enhance civic participation in governance structures by increasing contributions from diverse stakeholders in the assessment of social and economic opportunities in organizations and communities (SC&D objective). Assist new immigrants in becoming engaged residents of their adopted communities.
4) Establish linkages among key interest groups, including those representing family businesses, agricultural and commodity organizations, counties and communities and broad social interests (SC&D objective), as they work to integrate immigrants into their communities.
5) Strengthen community and rural vitality by assessing and strengthening support services in the areas of job creation, education, health, and conflict resolution (SC&D objective). The renewed NCERA will focus on self-employment, educational outcomes, and conflict resolution for Latinos and immigrants who are newcomers to rural and urban Midwestern communities.


  1. Build upon existing and create new networks of faculty members and students at land grant and other colleges and universities, Extension/outreach educators, and community leaders and organizations focused on developing knowledge and promoting a more accurate understanding of the challenges and opportunities confronting the growing Latino and immigrant populations across communities and cities in the Midwest. This involves continuing to mobilize human resources within universities, building new models of research and outreach collaboration, strengthening the grant proposal development capacity of working groups focused on key dimensions of challenges and opportunities, generating policy resources, educational materials, and promoting partnerships and sustained communications among participants.
  2. Expand the research, teaching, Extension/outreach, and public engagement capacity of the regions land grant and other universities to promote the incorporation of the growing Latino populations and recent immigrants into Midwestern communities. This involves evaluating, strengthening, and taking to scale applied outreach programs focusing on Latinos and immigrants in the North Central Region, continuing to collaborate with the other Latino-focused interstate initiative, SERA 37 (the New Hispanic South), to share and implement effective outreach programs and applied research results, and promoting leadership programs across a range of stakeholders in universities and communities.
  3. Advance the capacity of the regions land-grant university system to provide culturally competent, timely and high quality educational and training programs for Extension faculty, outreach workers and community partners working to meet the diverse needs of their communities. This can be accomplished by building multicultural capacity in Extension/outreach programs to work effectively with Latino and immigrant communities, and continuing to work with the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD) to provide professional development webinars for Extension and other interested personnel.

Procedures and Activities

The procedures of NCERA_Temp216 are:

Procedure 1. Provide forums that engage academic scholars, Extension educators and administrators, and community leaders and practitioners in sharing research results and best practices in the incorporation of Latinos and immigrants in the Midwest.

A. Partner with the organizers of Cambio de Colores Colores Conference to hold an annual conference in the Midwest.
B. Use the e-publication series at the Julian Samora Research Institute (JSRI) and the Cambio de Colores Center to make study results available to participants and broader communities. Publish 2-3 manuscripts annually at JSRI and the annual conference proceedings at the Cambio de Colores Center.
C. Host meetings with Extension directors in the region to promote the development of diversity competent mid-level Extension and Outreach leaders. This will occur within the first year of the initiative.

Procedure 2. Develop collaborative research and education projects focusing on education and family well-being, economic development and entrepreneurship, civic engagement, diversity leadership and cultural competence.

A. Colleagues in Missouri and Iowa will collaborate to implement and evaluate the JUNTOS Program, a mentoring and success coaching program that helps youth and parents/caregivers gain knowledge and skills that promote educational success. Routinely evaluate programs and share the results with participants to maintain a process of continuous refinement and improvement.
B. Produce manuscripts on Latino family involvement and student success based on the lessons learned from the JUNTOS Program and explore grant opportunities to expand the implementation of the program across more communities and school districts.
C. Design, implement, and evaluate a series of health-focused workshops for Latina mothers based on issues identified by participants.
D. Design and implement a survey of cultural competence to meet diversity needs across the regions Extension units. Conduct the survey during the second year of the initiative and develop and distribute a report during the third year. Use the findings of the report to design development programs in the fourth year, and begin program implementation during the fifth year of the initiative.
E. Produce publications on the demographic transitions occurring in the North Central region, with specific emphasis on Latinos and immigrants. Make the demographic briefs and reports available on the webpages of the Julian Samora Research Institute and the Cambio de Colores Center.
F. Collaborate with colleagues across the North Central region to promote research and education on the incorporation of Latinos and immigrants by promoting awareness of and the activities of the St. Louis MOSIAC Project in other Midwestern communities. This Project promotes economic development through entrepreneurship and innovation among immigrants.

Procedure 3. Link with the Southern Extension and Research Activity-37 (SERA-37) to share research results regarding understanding the challenges and opportunities associated with Latino communities; strengthen the research, Extension and outreach, and public policy work being conducted with Latinos in the land-grant university system; and advance educational programs and technical assistance to meet the diverse needs of the growing Latino population.

A. Partner on co-hosting webinars that feature speakers and panelists on topics of mutual interest to our respective participants. Conduct a webinar in the fall and in the spring semester that bring the expertise of the participants in our respective initiatives to broad audiences.
B. Share evaluation results from JUNTOS Programming across states to continue to learn from and to fine tune the components and processes of the program. Organize a panel at the Cambio Conference to share results, particularly in relation to dropout prevention and family involvement.

Expected Outcomes and Impacts

  • Outcome/Impact 1. Increased networking and collaboration among researchers and practitioners / Expanded communities of practice promoting the incorporation of Latinos and immigrants.
  • Outcome/Impact 2. Strengthened diversity competency of mid-level leaders in Extension and Outreach / Improved capacity in Extension to promote work with Latino families and communities in the region.
  • Outcome/Impact 3. Increased multidisciplinary scholarly output among researchers and educators in the Midwest that sheds light on critical issues facing Latino populations, informs public discussions, and supports grant garnering activities / Expanded stock of knowledge to promote and support services to Latino families and communities in the region based on research findings that promote the incorporation of Latinos and immigrants.
  • Outcome/Impact 4. Enhanced engagement of Latino families to promote academic success and higher education attainment among their children / Greater engagement of Latino families in the education process and greater rates of educational success among their children.
  • Outcome/Impact 5. Enhanced health-related knowledge and skills among Latino families / Healthier diets among Latino families and greater health-conscious perspectives in Latino communities.
  • Outcome/Impact 6. Dissemination of best practices and evidence-based research to improve the quality of life of Latinos and immigrants in the Midwest / Accessible knowledge base that informs the improvement and delivery of services to Latino and immigrant families and communities across the South and North Central regions and promotes their incorporation.

Projected Participation

View Appendix E: Participation

Educational Plan

This project focuses on the incorporation of Latino and immigrants in Midwestern communities, which are underserved populations in our communities. It addresses barriers to education, health, business, and institutional incorporation through research on the nature and scope of specific barriers, effective approaches to improving services, and building capacity in organizations to improve their service delivery systems. Thus, equality and improvement of service delivery are at the core of this project. Participants will work directly with target populations and organizations to implement interventions, build capacity, and distill the lessons learned to move activities to scale. For example, the JUNTOS program and the family health-focused workshops will interact directly with and in partnership with families and leaders in targeted communities in Iowa and Missouri.

The dissemination of information will occur as follows: 1) Presentations to: (a) the members of target populations participating in project activities (in required by community-based participatory research); (b) participants at the annual Cambio de Colores conference, which brings scholars, practitioners, and policymakers together to discuss the various aspects of the demographic transition in the Midwest; and (c) professional national conferences that bring together scholars from across the nation; 2) Articles, reports and other materials made available through JSRIs NEXO Research Newsletter, Proceedings of the Cambio de Colores conferences, research reports available through JSRIs and Cambio de Colores Centers webpages, professional journal publications, and books through the various presses in the region and across the country. Finally, information will be made available through webinars accessible through personal computers  announcements of the webinars are made available through listservs of stakeholders of the project, the respective two centers, and the NCRCRD and SERA 37.


The governance of NCERA 216 has been and will continue to be based on a standard structure and set of processes. It consists of an 8-member Executive Committee comprised of a Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary/Communications Coordinator, and five other members, each of whom represents a key area of interest or activity of the project. The term of service for the Executive Committee members is one year, with members are elected at the annual meeting, where nominations are made, and a vote is taken from those present at the meeting.

The role of the Executive Committee is to promote and coordinate project activities and coordinate communications among participants and stakeholders. Members of the Executive Committee make reports at the annual meeting, which usually involves participation by the Administrative Advisor. Major decisions are made at the annual meeting, where NCERA 216 participants are able to discuss face-to-face or by live teleconference key project activities and initiatives, and individuals can volunteer to lead or coordinate activities through the year. It is here where topics for webinars are discussed and agreed upon, and individuals volunteer to make presentations and other potential speakers are identified.

Grant topics and opportunities are discussed, and project leaders, partners, and potential collaborators identified. Once these steps are taken, the Executive Committee and its members follow up to ensure that progress is made and outcomes are reported at the following annual meeting. Communications and announcements of events and opportunities occur throughout the year through the use of ANGEL® LMS, a learning management network which, among other things, allows for easy management of a Listserv-like list of participants that includes NIMSS-registered participants and other stakeholders who participate at the annual meetings and the Cambio de Colores Conference.

Literature Cited

Ennis, S. R., Rios-Vargas, M., & Albert, N. G. 2011. The Hispanic Population: 2010. 2010 Census Briefs, C2010BR-04. Accessed 6-7-12 at:

Guzmán, J. C., Reyes, J. R., Palacios, J., & Carolan-Silva, A. R. 2011. Latinos in North Central Indiana: Educational Challenges and Opportunities. Vol. 3. Goshen, IN: Goshen College, Center for Intercultural Teaching and Learning.

Humes, K. R., Jones, N. A., & Ramirez, R. R. (2011, March). Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010. 2010 Census Briefs, U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC. Accessed 9-8-13 at:

State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors. 2011. Guidelines for Multistate Research Activities. State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors in cooperation with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA (NIFA) and the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy (ESCOP).

U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC. Population estimates Accessed September 4, 2013 from


Land Grant Participating States/Institutions


Non Land Grant Participating States/Institutions

Drake University, St. Louis University, University of Nebraska, Xpenn Consultants, Inc.
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