Are you a farm worker in a rural area of the United States? You may be eligible for the National Farmworker Jobs Program. Here's what you need to know.
Farmworkers are integral to our society. With automation, fewer of them are required now than in the past, but we still need the more than 3 million pairs of human hands that help supply our food.
Unfortunately, being a farmworker is a tough gig. The seasonal nature of the work means there are times of the year when work is scarce or nonexistent.
If you are a migrant or seasonal farmworker, you may be eligible for assistance under the National Farmworker Jobs Program. Check out the basics of the program here!
Local organizations/nonprofits can apply for a grant under the NFJP. To qualify, they must understand the problems facing migrant and seasonal workers and their families and be familiar with the service area. Additionally, they must be able to show their ability to offer the types of supportive services that these workers need.
Various types of organizations can qualify for an NFJP grant. They include, but are not limited to:
- Local government agencies
- State government agencies
- Faith-based or community-based organizations
- Local workforce investment boards
- Institutions of higher learning
Grants are awarded for four years, and then organizations must reapply.
Farmworkers that are eligible to receive assistance through the program also have to meet specific requirements. You must be primarily employed, i.e., 51% of your income or more comes from fish farming or agricultural labor. Your household should also be considered as low-income or underemployed.
You have to be legally authorized to work in the US; this includes individuals who have been granted relief under DACA. If you are male and 18 years or older, you must be registered for the Selective Service. Veterans receive priority service.
What Does the Program Do?
While some people may receive monetary assistance or a small stipend, most of the program is focused on offering supportive services. The main goal is to give the farmworker a more extensive range of employment options.
They do this by offering career services, education, on-the-job training, skills, training, job placement, and more. Workers are assessed and helped to set up a career plan. A clear trajectory is outlined for how to reach those goals.
Some workers will receive college classes that the NFJP will pay for. If necessary, you may also receive a small stipend or help with housing during the time that you're in school to help cover expenses.
Help for The Average Farmworker
Being a farmworker is hard work. It's honorable work and necessary for our society. Everybody needs to eat.
However, it's not a good career choice. As your family and responsibilities grow, your income needs to grow with it. You might feel stuck in your role as a farmworker because you don't know how to do anything else.
With the NFJP, you don't have to stay stuck. Learn the skills you need to advance your career and move into a more profitable line of work.
Need help with an unexpected expense? Check out the Modest Needs Grant.