Last week, the University of Minnesota Crookston, received a $100,000, one-year grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development (RD) agency to fund the Mano Amiga program of the Veden Center for Rural Economic Development.

The Vedan Center works to increase employment and entrepreneurship opportunities among the growing Latino community in Crookston and Polk County areas surrounding the university. UMN Crookston officials said the university plans to expand the Mano Amiga program into additional geographic areas as the project takes root and grows. 

UMN Crookston is a pioneer in utilizing resources of the state’s large university system to benefit marginalized Minnesota communities in a culturally relevant manner.

The Veden Center will advance skills in the Latino community in multiple ways. First, critical education in business and entrepreneurship will be translated into Spanish and offered in certificate programs focused on building regional skills as well entrepreneurship and small business development skills. A goal is to increase retention and completion of course work by delivering it in participating students’ native language. At the same time, programming seeks to improve students’ use of English in a business setting. UMN Crookston intends to eventually create credit-based programs that lead to a baccalaureate degree.

About UMN Crookston

One of five campuses in the University of Minnesota System, the University of Minnesota Crookston cultivates curiosity by engaging students in hands-on learning connecting theory to practice. As the experienced leader in delivering education online, the Crookston campus offers a distinctive learning environment providing personal attention and mentorship to develop leaders, lifelong learners and engaged citizens. Visit Crookston at  

About UMN

The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota. Learn more at

Story Contact: Shawn Smith