Children Essay & Art Contest Deadline Extended (8/21)

Announcement of 2015 ContestAFOP’s 2015 Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Children Essay & Art Contest deadline has been extended to August 21, 2015. This contest allows us to showcase the talent and powerful stories present among farmworker children. Click here to apply!

Students ages 10-18, from farmworker families, are eligible to participate and can win cash awards and a trip to Las Vegas to show their work at the AFOP National Conference.

AFOP Member PathStone Wins DOL “Training to Work” Grant

PathStone Wins DOL Grant to Improve Employment Opportunities for Formerly Incarcerated Adults and Youth

DOL announced June 25 that it has awarded AFOP member PathStone-Pennsylvania a $1.3 million grant through its “Training to Work” program which assists men and women enrolled in state or local work release programs in gaining the job skills necessary for in-demand occupations as they reintegrate back into society. Training to Work incorporates the comprehensive career pathways model that align education and training services to enable workers to attain industry-recognized credentials and find jobs.

According to DOL, with access to good jobs and stable employment, adults and youth involved in criminal justice system are less likely to become repeat offenders, which strengthens local economies and boosts public safety. However, rehabilitation becomes more difficult when a criminal record impedes the search for employment. To overcome this dilemma, DOL is awarding a total of $59 million to non-profit organizations to develop or expand programs to improve the employment opportunities for adults and youth involved in the criminal justice system. The funds will support programs that offer a range of services that include case management, mentoring, education and training that leads to industry-recognized credentials.

Meet the United States Department of Labor

Administrator, Wage and Hour Division
Dr. David Weil

David Weil (2)Prior to this appointment, Dr. Weil served as professor of economics and the Peter and Deborah Wexler Professor of Management at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. He also served as co-director of the Transparency Policy Project at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He has written five books, three regarding labor market policy including the recently published The Fissured Workplace. He has authored numerous articles and publications in a variety of economics, public policy, management, and industrial relations journals and books, as well as numerous publications in non-academic outlets.David Weil was sworn in as the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division on May 5, 2014. Dr. Weil is an internationally recognized expert in public and labor market policy; regulatory performance; industrial and labor relations; transparency policy; and supply-chain restructuring and its effects.

“Working together, through a combination of education and enforcement, we can affect change to benefit everyone in this industry — from the workers in the fields to the growers and contractors who employ them.”

No stranger to the Department’s mission or its work, Dr. Weil has served as an adviser to the Wage and Hour Division, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Department of Labor, as well as to a number of other government agencies. He also has served as mediator and adviser in a range of labor union and labor/management settings across the globe. In addition to his work for the Department, his research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Russell Sage Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, among others.

Agricultural Outreach

In fiscal year 2014, the Wage and Hour Division investigations in the agriculture industry yielded violations 80 percent of the time and collected more than $4.5 million in back wages for workers. Enforcement alone, though, is not enough to improve labor law compliance and conditions for workers — direct outreach to industry employers is needed. Wage and Hour Division Administrator David Weil did just that when he met with the National Council of Agricultural Employers at its annual meeting in Washington, D.C., earlier this year. Weil told the gathering of growers, contractors, attorneys and others that, by collaborating to address common labor violations, a fair and level playing field is possible. “Working together, through a combination of education and enforcement, we can affect change to benefit everyone in this industry — from the workers in the fields to the growers and contractors who employ them,” he said.

Source: United States Department of Labor

For the First Time in Years, Congressional Committees Approve NFJP Funding Bill


The House Appropriations Committee recently approved its version of the Fiscal Year 2016 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations bill that includes level funding for the National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP) at $82 million.  That is the same amount as in fiscal year 2015 and fiscal year 2014 before that.  In these difficult budgetary times, AFOP is pleased we have been able to hold our own.  We have been able to because we have worked hard to make certain that lawmakers understand clearly the great need for this life-changing program and the tremendous success our members have in providing its services.  As Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma) said during his panel’s consideration of the bill, “If you break even in this bill, you’re a winner.”  Meanwhile, in the Senate, the committee-approved bill proposes an $8.9 million cut in the program, nearly an 11-percent reduction, about twice the amount cut by sequestration in fiscal year 2013.

In recent years, congressional appropriators have had trouble moving this measure through the regular legislative process because of controversial policy riders and disagreements over funding levels.  Despite this year’s impressive progress, though, lawmakers once again face an uncertain future in advancing this measure, as well as the other yearly appropriations bills.  The problem is the 2011 Budget Control Act, the law that brought spending caps and sequestration.  In approving its budget plan this year, Congress held non-defense discretionary spending to the Act’s caps, but provided cap relief for defense funding.  Congressional Democrats and the White House took exception to that, and Senate Democrats are now blocking consideration of the appropriations bills until their Republican colleagues agree to a budget compromise increasing funds for their discretionary priorities.  Should the Democrats persist in their blocking effort, and should the Republicans refuse to negotiate a deal, the specter of a government shutdown this fall rises.  While there appears little appetite for such a scenario, it is notable that both sides of the aisle have made comments recently seeking to assign the blame to the other party should a shutdown occur.

Obama Administration Announces Aid for Drought-Stricken West

The Administration announced June 12 new actions and investments of more than $110 million to support workers, farmers and rural communities suffering from drought and to combat wildfires. The new funding announced builds on the more than $190 million that agencies across the federal government have invested to support drought-stricken communities so far this year. View White House Fact Sheet

According to federal officials, 35 percent of the West is facing severe to exceptional drought. In California, the mountain snowpack that supplies most of the water during the summer months is only a trace above zero. All over the West, continued drought is leading to job losses, particularly in the agricultural sector. In California alone, a recent University of California Davis study estimates 18,000 lost jobs because of drought. Officials say that these losses leave working families struggling to make ends meet.

To help assist them in this time of need, DOL announced that it will award as much as $18 million to the State of California to provide jobs for workers dislocated by the drought. Starting in July, this National Dislocated Worker Grant will employ up to 1,000 workers for up to 6 months with public and nonprofit agencies working to build drought resilience, reduce wildfire risk, and improve water efficiency. The grant, made possible by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, will focus on the areas facing the most severe impacts in California. Other states that have received a drought emergency declaration and can document drought-impacted job losses will have the option to apply for similar Dislocated Worker Grants. The program in California will also support youth in drought-impacted households as well as the long-term unemployed.

Success Story: Caroline Garcia

Carolina Garcia
Certified Nursing Assistant
Miami-Dade County Florida Farmworker Career Development Program (FCDP)

Caroline GarciaCarolina is a shining star and a great example for her three children: Noel, Carolina and Alonzo. She grew up in a farmworker home and witnessed first-hand her mother’s dedication and hard work “to put food on the table.” Due to an early pregnancy, Carolina dropped-out of High school in 10th grade. She realized that education was the key to get ahead and offer a better future for her son. She returned to school, completed her studies, and graduated. “It took a little longer since I was supposed to graduate at the age of 17, but instead I graduated at 19; its better than never,” Carolina stated.

Carolina resides with her mother and sisters in order to save money. Her mother continues to work in agriculture and they financially struggle to make provisions for the entire family.

Carolina realized that in order for her to (1) provide for her children; (2) help with the household finances; and (3) continue her educational goals, she needed a different type of job. She decided to go to a local training center to obtain information. She received a flyer describing the Miami-Dade County Farmworker Career Development Program (FCDP). Carolina met with a Case Manager and enrolled in the program in August 2014. After a comprehensive assessment and the Case Manager’s professional assistance, she enrolled in the Certified Nursing Assistant program. By October 2014, Carolina completed the training, scheduled/passed the state examination, and received her CNA

In addition, Miami-Dade County’s FCDP provided Carolina with Employability Skills Training and job search assistance. In December 2014, Carolina secured employment as a Certified Nursing Assistant in a local nursing home. She was able to increase her monthly earnings by over $1500 and obtain health benefits. Her long-term goal is to obtain a Master’s Degree in Nursing and her short term goal is to enroll in either an RN or an LPN program.

“There are no excuses, I did it and I have 3 kids, so anyone can do it. I really appreciate all the great help I got from my Case Manager and the Farmworker Program because they helped me accomplish my goals. I wish the best for anyone else who gets the opportunity to further their education,” said Carolina.