The Hormel Institute has been named “Industry Partner of the Year” by Southeast Service Cooperative and Southeast Minnesota Workforce Development Inc.

The award recognizes Southeast Minnesota partners that demonstrate a commitment to promoting
K-12 learning about careers and technical skills, along with supporting and collaborating with local school districts to offer educational opportunities.

The Hormel Institute was nominated by IJ Holton Intermediate School and Ellis Middle School Principal Dewey Schara for the Institute's efforts to promote Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education in the Austin school district.

The honor comes two years after The Hormel Institute established its Community Outreach and Education (COE) department. The COE department was formed to help The Hormel Institute fulfill its mission to conduct research and provide education in the biological sciences with applications in medicine and agriculture.

The COE department focuses on three pillars: Education, prevention, and wellness outreach.  The mission of the COE department is to develop a comprehensive education and training program for all ages and promote and participate in community-driven initiatives that help increase community engagement.

To spearhead this mission, Kelly Vincelette joined The Hormel Institute in 2021 as the Community Outreach and Education Manager. Vincelette has nearly two decades of experience with developing and implementing K-12 educational programs. Before coming to the Institute, Vincelette spent more than 15 years as an Extension Educator with the University of Minnesota Extension, Youth Development. She has a Master of Education degree in Parent and Family Education.

In 2022, Katie Young joined the COE team as the Community Outreach and Education Coordinator. With nearly 15 years of teaching K-12 education in a formal classroom setting, Young has been instrumental in helping develop and implement activities and educational experiences for students at The Hormel Institute.
That includes the Young Scientist Program, which engages 6-8 grade students who are interested in science. The students come to the Institute once a month for the entire school year to work in the labs with scientists and learn through observation and hands-on experience.

Other opportunities include educational experiences featuring activities and experiments, Family Learning Day, and Science Saturdays, where families can pick up kits to perform fun science experiments at home.

The Young Scientist Program, along with several other current and future educational opportunities, are possible thanks to a generous donation from Paul and Joanne Worlein and the development of the new Education Fund. This fund supports education initiatives for student learning opportunities at The Hormel Institute. If you would like to support education outreach at The Hormel Institute, please visit hi.umn.edu/donate.

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