Here’s the latest on grant-winning university teams supported by Fundación Banorte, led by Banorte Chairman Carlos Hank González, Fundación Gruma and the U.S. Department of State as part of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund.

The fund encourages higher education institutions to adopt new models of academic exchange and workforce development programs throughout the Americas. These cross-cultural research teams are seeking to broaden technical skills, solve real-world problems and stimulate economic prosperity.

Partners: Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, Wisconsin, and Universidad Politécnica de Guanajuato in Cortazar, Guanajuato.

Project: Develop global workplace skills to expand access, provide inclusion and add diversity to study abroad programs for two-year vocational college and polytechnic university students. 

Their mission: The goal is to develop and enhance global competencies and employability skills through the completion of the Global Competence Training Program of 10 Fox Valley Technical College and 10 Universidad Politécnica de Guanajuato students. The program recruits two-year vocational college and polytechnic university students, typically underrepresented in study abroad, from underserved academic areas, including gender and socio-economic status. 

Students in the joint project touring a Wisconsin farm and a veterinary clinic.

What’s new: Fox Valley hosted their Mexican counterparts  last August. Since returning home to Mexico, the students have used more English in the classroom and are searching for more opportunities to keep their English language skills active and to work more cohesively in teams with greater diversity.

In Wisconsin, they also worked with agriculture students and faculty, touring local farms and veterinary services. In advance, the college’s resident assistants, student life managers and staff built a training program on diversity and mutual understanding.

Rayon Brown, chief diversity officer at Fox Valley, praised the project for promoting global understanding. 

“The students bring diverse perspectives to our community and help leaders gain insights of what the future could be when we all work collaboratively to enhance our cultural competencies,” he said.

The partnership has been building over the last five years since the two schools met through Partners of the Americas conferences. The 100K Strong in Americas grant has now opened more opportunities.

“The stay and study abroad programs not only aid in students’ academic resumes and future professional goals but also represent an incommensurable enrichment to our college and community life alike,” said Maria Carone, who teaches languages at Fox Valley.



“Their presence and participation contribute with the cultural, ethnic and multilingual variety of experiences they bring to our lives, to an increasingly diverse outlook of our campus and community environments,” she said.

What’s next: Fox Valley students are planning a summer visit to their partners’ campus in Mexico.

For more:
Since its inception in 2014 through the end of 2020, the Innovation Fund has awarded 243 grants ($25,000 to $35,000 each) to more than 490 universities and institutions, working in teams in 25 countries and in 49 U.S. states. See