$6.4 million grant awarded to help retain 1,000 laid-off farm workers

Laid-off farm workers with no prospects for other seasonal work will be retrained in promising new careers with the help of a $6.4 million grant from the state Employment Development Department (EDD). Funding for the program is drawn from the Governor’s 25 percent portion of Dislocated Worker Funds, Title I of the federal Workforce Investment Act, and is under the administrative authority of the Labor and Workforce Development Agency’s EDD.

“Unemployment has soared in California’s farming communities to a level not seen since the Great Depression, as much as double the statewide rate in some rural areas,” said Marty Morgenstern, Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. “The recession has dealt some of its most severe blows to seasonal farm workers. This funding will equip these workers with the tools needed to quickly move forward with their lives and into a broader array of job possibilities.”

La Cooperativa Campesina de California and its five memberagencies will use the funds to retrain 1,091 jobless farm workers for jobs in industries that continue to thrive during the recession, including the allied health field, industrial maintenance, retail trade/service, and the green and renewable energy sector.

The agencies will provide regionalized employment and retraining services to migrant and seasonal farm workers and their families who reside in agricultural areas with high levels of both unemployment and poverty.

For more information about this project, please contact Marco Lizarraga, La Cooperativa Campesina de California, at (916) 388-2220.