Scholarship for Education and Economic Development

The SEED Program was a USAID-sponsored exchange initiative that provided U.S.-based technical training to youth and community leaders enabling them to become important players in key development sectors of their home countries. Moreover, the program created productive and mutually beneficial academic, economic, and social relationships that benefited people of the United States and the Latin American/Caribbean region.

Program Details

The SEED Program offered custom designed technical training and educational opportunities to youth and community leaders from economically disadvantaged and historically underserved populations, including women, people with disabilities, and members of ethnic/indigenous groups. The CIED scholarship model incorporates skills training, leadership development, and English as a Second Language (ESL) supporting fundamental development sectors such as agriculture, education, and the environment.

Upon completion of their scholarships in the United States, participants returned home to apply their newly acquired skills. CIED provided job assistance and professional development support. The countries that participated in the program were the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua. CIED administered this initiative from 1985 – 2015. In September, 2015, the program officially came to a close.

Program Impact

The impact of the SEED Program is far reaching. During their U.S.-based scholarship, students develop professional skills, community action plans, and cross-cultural friendships. In turn, they returned home to support their national economies by working in key sectors related to USAID’s regional economic and social development strategies. On the job and in their communities they continue to promote democratic values, including participatory leadership, rule of law, and free-market economics. Alumni community action plans promoted civic and infrastructure projects throughout their countries.

In addition to the technical and development impact of the program alumni, the SEED Program supported U.S. public diplomacy efforts. American citizens and U.S. companies in communities throughout the U.S. have had the chance to develop productive and beneficial relationships with young leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean. This benefits political, professional, and trade relationship for people in the U.S. and all participating countries.


Case Studies

Mario García showing a workbook to children in classroom.

Mario García

Mario is a prime example of the impact that an investment in a single person can have on a community.

Mayra Orellana-Powell

Mayra Orellana-Powell

CASS Alum creates thriving locally led group of traditional small farmers in Honduras to export high-quality coffee to the U.S.

“I soaked up all the experiences in the SEED program, especially my monthly meetings with my college advisor. The program prepared for my professional career here in El Salvador.”

Daniel Portillo, SEED alumnus from St. Louis Community College

Related News

Bartolome Vazquez in a small boat on the water.

SEED Alum Protagonist of Award-Winning Documentary

November 21st, 2018

Bartolomé Vázquez López is a teacher in a one-room multigrade school of indigenous education in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico, and he knows that pedagogy is not based solely on textbooks nor fit behind the four walls of a classroom.