Wednesday, July 30, 2014
LANSING, Mich. – Migrant and seasonal farm workers in West and Southwest Michigan are invited to attend an informational Farm Worker College Night to learn about college-related resources and training opportunities in Michigan.
“College Night means connecting our migrant and seasonal farm workers and their families to educational institutions. We have migrant youth who are dreaming of college but often lack information, and their parents aren’t sure where to start. And we have adults who want to further their education level as well,” said Belén Ledezma, director, Migrant, Immigrant & Seasonal Worker Services Division–Michigan Workforce Development Agency. “As a former migrant and seasonal farmworker, I was able to not only find my career but also support my family through the opportunity to further my education via a university. I want others to have the same opportunities. Sharing information and connecting people to college-related resources is one important way we can do that.”
Taking place August 6 in Lawrence and again August 7 in Sparta, Farm Worker College Night is intended to inform individuals with migrant work backgrounds about educational and career advancement opportunities as well as support services that are available to them. Attendees can take part in one-on-one meetings with representatives from Michigan colleges and universities, college assistance migrant programs, technical schools and the Michigan State Police.
Michigan State University will have representatives on hand to talk about two of its programs for migrant students, the College Assistance Migrant Program and the High School Equivalency Program. CAMP offers admission, enrollment, financial and academic support to students with migrant or seasonal farm work backgrounds. HEP is a secondary education program that offers individuals with migrant or seasonal farm work backgrounds an opportunity to obtain a General Educational Development certificate.
“These college nights will give migrant and seasonal farm workers the opportunity to visit with representatives from different educational entities and learn about the many resources that are available,” said Michigan State University Migrant Student Services Director Luis Alonzo Garcia. “We encourage migrant high school students as well as adults who are looking to change their path in life to join us. We will help dispel some of the myths and misunderstandings many migrant workers may have about college in a friendly, helpful environment.”
The Farm Worker College Nights are sponsored by the Agriculture Field Services Unit of the Michigan Workforce Development Agency and the Martin Luther King, Jr.–Caesar Chavez–Rosa Parks Initiative. The events are free to attend and registration is not required. Both events will take place from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The August 6 college night will be held at the Van Buren Conference Center, 490 S. Paw Paw St. in Lawrence. The August 7 event will be held at Sparta High School, 475 W. Spartan Dr. in Sparta.
The Workforce Development Agency promotes a flexible, innovative, and effective workforce system within the State of Michigan. The WDA and the Michigan Works! system provide services to employers and job seekers to train and place skilled workers in good jobs across Michigan.
The Agriculture Field Services Unit in WDA is dedicated to assisting with the labor needs of jobseekers and employers in the agriculture industry. Agricultural Employment Specialists (AES) explain the full range of employment services available to Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers (MSFWs) at places where the MSFWs live and gather, such as at licensed labor camps or at community gatherings. Services such as resume assistance and placement in to employment, job development, and referrals to supportive services jobs are provided by the AES and with assistance from One-Stop partners, the full range of employment services is provided. Additionally, AES staff meets one-on-one with employers to ensure their need for talent is met, as well as provide information on such topics as labor laws and out-of-state recruitment.
Established by the Michigan Legislature in 1986, the goal of the Martin Luther King–Cesar Chavez–Rosa Parks Initiative is to increase the number of Michigan’s most educationally or economically disadvantaged citizens who have the opportunity to complete college degrees and experience career success as active participants in a knowledge-based global economy.
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