July 19, 2022  |  VIEW IN BROWSER


Farmworkers Still Dangerously Unprotected from the Heat

By Kendra Moesle, AFOP Director of Workforce Development
July 12, 2022

July is the month when we recognize how dangerous it is for people to work in the heat – in particular, our valued and vulnerable farmworkers.  In a 2015 study of BLS data, agricultural workers were found to be 35 times more likely to die of a heat-related illness than workers in other industries. 
Global warming continues to make already hot and humid summers that much worse.  Though we are only halfway through the year, 2022 is already predicted to rank as one of the 10 hottest years on record.
Without laws to protect workers from the increasing heat, it is getting more and more hazardous to labor under the sun.  That’s because farmworkers are, incredibly, still unprotected by any federal heat standard.  State governments have started taking appropriate measures in California, Oregon, and Washington, but not without industry push-back.
Last October, OSHA initiated the first phase in a heat standard rule-making process, and on April 8th, 2022, the agency announced a National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Outdoor and Indoor Heat-Related Hazards.  These are essential first steps.  However, the NEP is limited in its enforcement capacity, and the rulemaking process could take years to finalize – not to mention that it hinges on remaining a priority for future administrations. 
That’s why it is so important to continue raising our voices in support of farmworkers. 
Fortunately, many AFOP members are making a difference by participating in AFOP Health & Safety’s annual heat stress prevention training marathon, which took place this year from July 10th-16th. Thanks to all of you who conducted heat stress trainings last week and continue to do so throughout the year.  Without this regular re-enforcement about the importance of water, rest, and shade, it is our firm belief that an already bad situation would be that much worse. 
By training farmworkers on how to protect themselves from heat stress, you may have saved a life.
Read “Boiling Point,” a report from Public Citizen on the importance of passing a federal heat standard.


Sam Ward / for the Washington Post

Dreaming Big for Their Children

By Gizela Gaspar, AFOP Summer Intern

As the daughter of farmworkers and as a farmworker herself, Gizela Gaspar knows what it’s like to long for more:  more than substandard housing, more than sleeping in a tent, more than working on ladders in a cherry orchard all summer long. 
Fortunately, Gizela’s parents dreamed big and helped put her on the path to success.  “My parents were able to enroll me in Head Start,” Gizela recounts, “which taught them better ways to interact with us and lend a helping hand to our educational development.  Through this enrollment, I was offered speech therapy, which helped prepare me for kindergarten and become fluent in both Spanish and English at the age of six.”
Gizela is now a rising junior pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree at Heritage University.  She is giving back to the farmworker community by devoting her entire summer to a NMSHSA internship placement with AFOP.  In that role, she says she is excited to advocate for better heat stress protections for farmworkers.
Read Gizela’s reflections here.

Mississippi Delta Council for Farmworker Opportunities’ Don Green Talks NFJP with United States Labor Secretary Walsh

June 30, 2022

On June 30, Mississippi Delta Council for Farmworker Opportunities Executive Director Don Green took time from his busy schedule to drive halfway across Mississippi to meet with United States Department of Labor Secretary Martin Walsh to discuss farmworker matters in the state.  Describing the National Farmworker Jobs Program as the “bedrock” of the nation’s commitment to helping agricultural workers upgrade their skills in and outside agriculture, Mr. Green explained that AFOP strongly supports the House-passed Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act reauthorization measure (H. R. 7309) and respectfully urged the Biden Administration to do everything it can to impel the United States Senate to consider and adopt this important bill without further delay. 
Said Mr. Green, “Foremost for AFOP, the legislation will preserve NFJP as a national program,” adding, “H. R. 7309 also makes wise and helpful improvements to NFJP to increase program efficiency and efficacy.”  In closing, he emphasized that AFOP endorses the measure “without reservation.” 
CET Co-Founder Russell Tershey

CET Mourns the Passing of Co-Founder Russell Tershy

Hermelinda Sapien, CET President / CEO
June 30, 2022

The CET Family is saddened to announce that CET Co-Founder Russell Tershy has passed away at the age of 100.  Russell Tershy and former Franciscan Priest Anthony Soto (also now deceased) co-founded Center for Employment Training (CET) in 1967 in San Jose, California.  Founders sought to provide training and employment opportunities to farmworkers and cannery workers when the new Silicon Valley technology explosion displaced thousands of workers who lacked the skills for the new high-tech jobs.  For over 55 years CET has continued its commitment to improving the lives of farmworkers and their families.
Russell Tershy was a warrior for human rights, especially for farmworkers.  He was a friend of Cesar Chavez, who visited CET every time he was in San Jose.  Cesar Chavez’ last public appearance was at CET’s 25th Anniversary.
Imanol Parra-Chavira | Kansas SER Corp

“A Journey of a Thousand Miles”:  Accompanying Imanol on His Road to Success

Roberta Pianalto, NFJP Client Service Agent

Kansas SER Corporation

To Imanol Parra-Chavira, going to technical school and finding work as a diesel technician seemed like a journey of a thousand miles.  But he tackled that journey one step at a time.
Imanol grew up in Elkhart, Kansas (KS), a farming community where he worked harvesting the fields for several years. During the hot summers, he would travel from Texas to Nebraska harvesting wheat fields. While harvesting the fields he was required to maintain the farm equipment.  This sparked his interest in diesel mechanics.
Unfortunately, Imanol encountered many obstacles while trying to get his career started, like financing the training program.  Imanol was raised by a single mother and knew she could not afford to help him with the costs of training.  Then one morning, after moving to Goodland, he went out to get into his pickup truck.  He worked so hard one summer to save up and buy it and was crushed to realize that his truck had been stolen.
Fortunately, with the help of NFJP and his case manager, Roberta Pianalto, Imanol was able to overcome these obstacles and setbacks and find a job beyond his wildest dreams. 
Read more about Imanol’s story and others in Kansas SER’s newsletter.


AFOP Health & Safety Programs the Recipient of a $60,854 Cy Pres Award

AFOP Health & Safety
July 8, 2022

In the summer of 2017, Michigan Migrant Legal Aid (MMLA) submitted a class action lawsuit against Monsanto in the state of Illinois for violating the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) and failing to pay farmworkers the minimum wage.  They ultimately won their case and, after paying the affected farmworkers and the legal fees, decided to award the unclaimed money to AFOP.  
Prior to selecting AFOP H&S Programs as the recipient of the Cy Pres Award, MMLA did research to ensure the recipient had no ties to them and yet provided exceptional service to the farmworker community.  They found AFOP Health & Safety Programs through its social media and website and were impressed with the impact AFOP and its partners have through its National Farmworker Training Program (NFTP).
On June 24th, AFOP’s Health and Safety Programs Director Melanie Forti attended the Michigan Migrant Legal Aid event to receive the $60,854.86 check.  During this event, AFOP was praised for the amazing work it is doing through the National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP) and National Farmworker Training Program (NFTP).
Melanie Forti gave a speech about the importance of protecting farmworkers and how the money will be used to provide life-saving tools and training to help keep farmworkers safe and healthy: 
“We all want to buy beautiful, fresh produce, but at what cost?  In order to purchase beautiful produce, crops are filled with pesticides, which can result in farmworkers putting their health at risk due to the continuous exposure to these pesticides.”
Read More


Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Art & Essay Contest – DEADLINE EXTENDED!!!

Children in the Fields Campaign
July 15, 2022

AFOP’s Children in the Fields Campaign has extended the deadline to July 30th, 2022, to submit art and essay entries for AFOP’s CIFC Migrant and Seasonal Art and Essay Contest.
  • Information, Guidelines, and Application are available to download in English and Spanish HERE!
  • Winners will be announced on via CIFC Facebook Live at 12:30pm (EST)
  • Flyers in English and Spanish can be downloaded HERE!
AFOP believes that every farmworker child has a story to tell.  We offer that platform through our annual Art and Essay Contest, giving farmworker children the opportunity to showcase their heartwarming and compelling stories on the national stage and empowering them as they discover the strength in their own voice.  Each year, we receive hundreds of essays and works of art from students across the country.  Their stories are then used to help advocate for farmworker children’s rights.  
We are looking for sponsors for this year’s contest!  If you or your organization is able to make a contribution, please contact Melanie Forti at
Please stay tuned and follow us on social media for updates as @CIFCampaign!  Instagram  – FacebookTwitter

CIFC Online Store

Children in the Fields Campaign
AFOP’s Children in the Fields Campaign has officially launched its online store.  Each purchase helps support our work to keep farmworker children in school, while we work hard to bring change to U.S. child labor laws to protect this vulnerable population.
Visit our online store to support our work by purchasing some of the beautifully designed items:
  • Merch available in multiple color options
  • New collections every other month
  • Fast shipping
  • Purchase with a purpose
These are just some of the products available:
Saray Cambray Alvarez, 13, tries to avoid nicotine dripping from plants in fields where she works | Photo (c) Travis Dove for The New York Times

Lawmakers Call for Increased Protections for Farmworker Children

July 19, 2022

On July 19th, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) and Rep. David Cicilline, along with 44 House Democrats, sent a letter to Department of Labor Secretary Walsh, urging him to use his authority to declare certain agricultural occupations particularly hazardous and prohibited for hired child workers under the age of 16.
“Our nation’s child labor laws are failing to protect child farmworkers,” said Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01), sponsor of the Children Don’t Belong on Tobacco Farms Act. “Agriculture is the most dangerous industry for child workers in the U.S. and the Department of Labor must step in, update regulations, and ensure no child is forced to work in a dangerous environment.”

Additionally, two bills have been introduced in the current Congress that propose to amend U.S. child labor laws:
  • The Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety 2022, H.R. 7345, was introduced on March 31, 2022, by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA), and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT), along with 18 of their colleagues.  It would raise the minimum age of work for child farmworkers in the US so that it would match the minimum age in other industries.
  • The Children Don’t Belong on Tobacco Farms Act, H.R. 3865/ S.2044, was introduced simultaneously in the House and Senate on June 14, 2021.  It is sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA), Sen. Sherrod Brown (OH), and Sen. Jack Reed (RI), and in the House by Rep. Raúl Grijalva (AZ), Rep. Judy Chu (CA), Rep. James McGovern (MA), Rep. Janice Schakowsky (IL), along with many others.  This bill would raise the minimum age of all farmworkers who work in tobacco to 18, as handling tobacco leaves is especially hazardous to farmworkers’ health. 
AFOP’s Children in the Fields Campaign (CIFC) is a long-time member of the Child Labor Coalition (CLC), an alliance of advocates in Washington, DC, that has been working for decades to improve laws for children in agriculture as well as other industries, both domestically and internationally.  Legislation is regularly introduced in the House and Senate by CLC’s Congressional allies, thanks to these long-standing and ongoing advocacy efforts.

Read more
Associated Press/Carolyn Kaster

Obama on DACA anniversary: Let’s Treat Dreamers like the Americans They Are

The Hill
June 15, 2022

On its 10th anniversary, Obama spoke about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and how it is constantly under attack by politicians who ignore its “remarkable benefits'' to the United States.  “Let’s honor these Dreamers and everything they’ve done to strengthen our country,” the former President said in an emailed statement. “Let’s treat them like the Americans that they are. And let’s do everything we can to help build a common sense immigration system that honors our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.”
He added that these Dreamers now face increasing challenges and that only a quarter of the undocumented students graduating high school this year are eligible for DACA under existing rules.
Read More


Labor Secretary Walsh Message to DOL Grantees

July 18, 2022

Secretary Walsh recognizes DOL grantees, including AFOP members for training farmworkers in job training (NFJP) and heat stress prevention (through OSHA’s Susan Harwood grant), as critical partners in the advancement of opportunity and equity throughout the nation.  AFOP members’ knowledge of the unique needs of farmworkers and members’ willingness to engage in this important work help DOL reach the audiences in greatest need.  Secretary Walsh stressed that the work members do absolutely has a positive impact in America’s workplaces.
View full remarks here

DOL Processes NFJP PY2022 Notices of Awards

July 8, 2022

July 1st marked the official start of Program Year 2022, and this year members did not have to wait long for their Notice of Award.  DOL’s Office of Grants Management (OGM) worked overtime to issue this round of grants, and we have been told that all Career Services and Training (CST) grants have now been processed. 
Many thanks to the Office of Grants Management, Laura Ibañez, and the NFJP team for prioritizing these awards!

New Team Member Joins the National Office

July 8, 2022

A new member recently joined the NFJP team in the National Office.  Her name is Dawn James-Taylor, and she will be working closely with AFOP and the NFJP grantees. 
Ms. James-Taylor is a Certified Workforce Development Professional and a Social Worker with more than 25 years in the field of Human Services.  A few of her areas of expertise include child and adult welfare, compliance, workforce development services, case management, grant monitoring, program development, and operational improvements using a trauma-informed approach.
Ms. James-Taylor’s passion for Human Services lies in ensuring customers are treated the same regardless of their socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, and cultural background.  She prides herself with assisting community partners with understanding and implementing practices to ensure customers are treated with dignity and respect.
“This is a dream that came to reality,” stated Ms. James-Taylor.  “I knew I wanted to be part of a team that makes positive changes on a much larger level and this program is exactly what I wanted.  It means working alongside the great organizations and a team of professionals who contribute to our agricultural resources.”
Read More

DOL Publishes Findings from the 2019-2020 National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) 

Farmworker Justice
June 16, 2022

The findings from the 2019-2020 NAWS were recently published.  The NAWS provides an economic and demographic portrait of crop workers and crop support workers through in-person interviews at their workplaces.  The NAWS surveys those workers on farms and in orchards, greenhouses and nurseries, which include the majority of nursery products, grains, and field crops, as well as all fruits and vegetables. However, it does not include workers in all types of agricultural production; it excludes livestock, poultry, and fishery employees.  Although the survey covers a variety of farm jobs, including some supervisors, it excludes administrative staff and mechanics. The NAWS does not survey workers who hold H-2A temporary agricultural guestworker visas.  
A fact sheet with key findings from the 2019-2020 NAWS report is available here.  
Click here for the full report

US Department of Labor Recovers $225K in Back Wages for Agricultural Workers in California


The Department of Labor revealed that some California farms did not provide their H-2A workers with the pay and benefits as required by law.  During investigations from April 2020 to February 2022, the department’s Wage and Hour Division found that five farm owners failed to meet certain key H-2A statutory requirements, such as providing meals or kitchen facilities, paying the required inbound and outbound transportation and meal costs, or allowing workers to be transported unsafely.  At the close of the five investigations, $225,114 was recovered in back wages for 588 workers, and $54,617 in penalties was assessed to the employers.
“Employers that benefit from the H-2A guest worker program must be aware of all their responsibilities,” said Wage and Hour Regional Administrator Ruben Rosalez in San Francisco.  “Agricultural workers employed under the H-2A program must be paid as their contracts require and be provided with what they need to live and work safely while contributing critical labor to California’s agriculture industry.”
Read More


AFOP Submits NFJP Funding Request to Congress, Joins Expansive Group in Calling for Rationality and Moderation in the Nation’s Defense Budget

June 2, 2022

As Congress begins to accelerate its work on its yearly spending bills, AFOP has once again developed and submitted to Congress a compelling funding request for the National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP) that includes joint letters from lawmakers to the Appropriations Committees seeking NFJP increases, formal AFOP letters of request, written AFOP congressional testimony, completed forms required by the Appropriations Committees, and letters from members of our community to the House and Senate educating its members on the success of and continuing serious need for a robust national farmworker career and housing services program.  The House Appropriations Committee leads this process with the intention of clearing all 12 of the annual spending bills prior to the month-long congressional August recess.  The Senate would then take up the House-passed measures and adjust them to reflect the upper chamber’s own funding decisions.  The Senate will likely put off any substantive action this year until lawmakers know the results of the coming mid-term federal elections. 
Meanwhile, leaders of the Appropriations Committees are meeting to set the top-line spending amount for fiscal year 2023.  With that in hand, the leaders will then be able to subdivide the amount into the regular yearly bills, including the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education bill that funds NFJP.  In an effort to preserve an adequate Labor-Health and Human Services-Education allocation, AFOP has joined with many, many anti-poverty groups to demand that Congress bring both rationality and moderation to the national defense budget.  The letter reads:
“In the coming weeks, you [appropriators] will each be tasked with considering our nation’s budget for Fiscal Year 2023, which includes President Biden’s $813 billion defense topline request.  Though Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin testified before Congress that the defense budget proposed by the President is sufficient, and this sky-high figure is arguably well beyond what is necessary for the military to fulfill its obligation to national defense, calls to allocate tens of billions more to the Pentagon have already begun.  The undersigned groups urge you to strongly reject all wasteful proposals for additional increases to the military budget, whether proposed as committee amendments or in behind-the-scenes negotiations.  If enacted as requested, next year’s $813 billion military budget would be roughly $30 billion more than Fiscal Year 2022, which was roughly $30 billion more than the President requested last year.  By comparison, the Departments of State and Health and Human Services would respectively receive $68 billion and $138 billion, while about $45 billion would go toward addressing the climate crisis.”
Read entire letter here

Year-Round H-2A Amendment Included in House Homeland Security Appropriations Bill

Farmworker Justice
July 18, 2022

On June 24, the House Appropriations Committee passed a year-round H-2A rider on the Homeland Security appropriations bill for FY 2023, via voice vote. As they have in prior years, Reps. Newhouse (R-WA) and Cuellar (D-TX) introduced the amendment, which allows H-2A workers to be admitted without regard to whether they provide labor or services that are of a temporary or seasonal nature. Reps. Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and DeLauro (D-CT) spoke in opposition to the amendment. This “rider” on a spending bill would make a major policy change.  FJ strongly opposes both the substance of this amendment and the method by which it was adopted.
Given the contentiousness of the Homeland Security appropriations bill, as well as the current Congressional schedule, the DHS appropriations bill is unlikely to be voted on by the full House for some time. The Senate must also pass its own appropriations bill. FJ is currently working alongside our allies in both the labor and immigration movements to ensure this harmful H-2A rider is not included in the final Homeland Security appropriations bill.

White House Announces over $40 Billion in Investments in Our Workforce – With More Coming

The White House
July 12, 2022

American Rescue Plan funds are being used to recruit more Americans facing barriers to employment – homelessness, disability, prior criminal justice involvement – and giving them pathways into the workforce.  More than 600,000 people leave prison every year and confront significant challenges in accessing and sustaining stable, meaningful employment – a 2018 study estimated that formerly incarcerated individuals experience an unemployment rate of over 27 percent, exponentially higher than the overall national unemployment rate.  Investments in expanding access to the workforce strengthen our economy by increasing labor force participation and tapping into the potential of more Americans, and research shows that certain programs – such as comprehensive reentry programs and summer youth employment programs – can significantly reduce crime.
Read More

AFOP Joins Protecting Immigrant Families in Supporting LIFT the BAR Act

June 3, 2022

AFOP joined recently with more than 750 national, state, and local organizations in signing a letter of support organized by Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) for the LIFT the BAR Act, bicameral legislation to help millions in immigrant families get the health care and basic services every family needs to thrive.  
For 25 years, an arcane policy known as the “five-year bar” has denied lawfully present immigrant families of color access to critical health and social services.   The LIFT the BAR Act would restore access to programs like Medicaid, CHIP, and SNAP, by removing the five-year bar and other barriers that deny critical care and aid to people who are lawfully present.  The PIF letter urges Congress to restore eligibility to these federal public benefit programs that provide essential support to individuals and families.  These programs are particularly crucial during times of economic and public health crises.
Read more


$50 Million in Grants Available for More Equitable Career Development Opportunities

June 2, 2022

The Employment & Training Administration is making $50 million in funding available to bolster community colleges’ and other institutions’ efforts to deliver more equitable education and training, and to help connect people in marginalized and underrepresented populations with good-paying jobs.
This third round of Strengthening Community Colleges Training grants will enable community colleges – individually or collectively – to address equity gaps and meet the skills development needs of employers and workers more effectively.
The department will award grants of up to $1.6 million for single institutions and up to $5 million for consortia, with up to $5 million designated to fund at least one affinity consortium grant. This round of funding is being made available immediately. The department is soliciting applications for the third round through an amendment to the second round of the SCC grants funding opportunity announcement.
Click here for the Funding Opportunity Announcement on


Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Allows Highway Funding for Workforce Development

United States Department of Transportation
June 30, 2022

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) President Joe Biden signed into law late last year gives states new flexibility to fund workforce development activities using federal highway dollars.  States can choose to dedicate their allotted highway funds for workforce development with 100 percent federal share: no local matching funds required. Approximately $50 billion per year is made available, so even a small proportion can have significant impacts on the transportation workforce.  Funding is flexible if projects support one of the following four goals:
  • Increasing women and minority participation in transportation-related occupations;
  • Addressing workforce gaps;
  • Building skills supporting emerging transportation technologies; and
  • Attracting new sources of job-creating investment.
The statute calls out the following specific options for how the funding can be used, among other activities:
  • Tuition and other financial support to universities, community colleges, and vocational schools;
  • Apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, and on-the-job training;
  • Activities associated with industry stakeholders, workforce development boards, labor organizations, and economic development organization;
  • Student internships;
  • Outreach campaigns to develop interest in transportation careers and employment programs.
Read more here:  PowerPoint Presentation (

10 Things We Learned About Digital Skills During the Pandemic

Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program & UpSkill America
June 13, 2022

How has the current context—the pandemic and heightened attention on racial inequities—influenced businesses’ workplace hiring practices as well as plans to support career advancement for frontline workers?
A recent report by the Aspen Institute, “Pathways to Digital Skills Development for Latino Workers,” presents findings from a nationwide survey and in-depth interviews with employers of Latino frontline workers and workforce development organizations. The publication also identifies promising business practices and ecosystem approaches to developing the digital skills of the Latino workforce. 
Read More


Airship Manufacturers Need Trained Workers

June 25, 2022

A new generation of airships – the lighter-than-air craft that don't need conventional airports – will be built in a corner of Ohio which played a unique part in the history of aviation.  Airships could help speed up the delivery of aid in disaster zones, carry air cargo much more cheaply than air freighters, and cut aviation emissions.  Plenty of challenges remain.  No one has built airships like these for decades.  Then there is the safe integration of new technology into designs with an eye to mass production, supply chain disruption since the Covid-19 pandemic began, and the need for skilled workers to grow.  The long list of vacancies on their website is proof of that.
Read More
The AFOP Washington Newsline (ISSN# 1056-8565) is produced by the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP), a national federation of agencies serving migrant and seasonal farmworkers. AFOP’s mission is to improve the quality of life for migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families by promoting self-sufficiency through employment and training opportunities, educational attainment, and health and safety.

The publication is funded by subscriptions and the members of AFOP. The Washington Newsline receives no financial support from the federal government. Staff may be reached by calling (202) 963-3200.
Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs

1150 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 315
Washington, D.C. 20036

Direct: (202) 963-3200

Unsubscribe   or  Update Subscription Preferences 

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs · 1120 20th Street, N.W. · Suite 300 South · Washington, DC 20036 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp