The Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded $3 million to universities and community development groups to help minority students obtain higher degrees in community and economic development, HUD Secretary Samuel R. Pierce Jr. announced this week.

"Our goal is to enhance the professional leadership abilities of these students, while enriching their understanding of urban and economic development programs," Pierce said. "This is also an opportunity to attract a greater number of minority men and women to careers in state and local community and economic development."

The program, known as the HUD Community Development Work Study Program, will enable 194 economically disadvantaged men and women to spend two years working toward a graduate degree in community and economic development or other closely related disciplines, such as public administration or urban planning.

At the same time, the students will work as interns with state, regional or local agencies, Indian tribes or nonprofit/private organizations on activities funded by community development block grants or urban development action grants.

Forty-two colleges and universities have been selected to sponsor the students, including the University of the District of Columbia, Howard University and the University of Maryland. Students studying at the Washington schools will do their internships with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

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