EVERETT, Wash. – For more than a decade, WSU Extension educator José García-Pabón has helped Washington’s growing Latino community find success as entrepreneurs, learners and leaders.

García-Pabón — an associate professor with the WSU Extension Community and Economic Development Program and a Latino Community Studies and Outreach specialist — is the latest winner of the 2018 Excellence in Extension and Public Outreach Award from the Rural Sociological Society.

“The Latino and Hispanic community is an increasingly important part of Washington’s business and food system,” he said. “Reaching out to this community with training and outreach through WSU Extension brings us together, giving all Washingtonians a role in community leadership, stewardship and a better chance at success.”

With WSU Extension, he works to help underserved communities.

Supporting small business and economic development, García-Pabón provides training sessions on sustainable farming practices for small farmers and immigrant growers, and shares leadership training with Latino and Latina college students, women of color and Latino entrepreneurs.

García-Pabón also gives culturally appropriate training to colleagues, agencies and professional organizations on working with Latino communities, helping build WSU Extension connections statewide.

This fall, he will help launch extension’s sixth Latino/Latina Leadership Initiative, academy in partnership with the Latino Educational Training Institute and three community colleges in Snohomish and Skagit Counties.

The Excellence Award shows that his efforts to serve populations with limited access and awareness to education resources aren’t going unnoticed.

“It reinforces the importance of continued, expanded extension programs to reach our underserved communities,” he said. “I’m proud of the work my Community and Economic Development colleagues and I are doing, with the Metropolitan Center and other partners, to change lives for so many Northwest students, women, farmers and families.”

Honored for outreach to the Latino and Latina community, García-Pabón holds his recent Excellence in Extension and Public Outreach award from the Rural Sociological Society.