The National Farmworker Jobs Program
The National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP) is a nationally-directed, locally-administered program of employment and training services and housing assistance for migrant and seasonal farmworkers (MSFWs). Created under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, and currently authorized under Section 167 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), the program seeks to counter the chronic unemployment and underemployment experienced by MSFWs who depend primarily on jobs in agricultural labor performed within the United States and Puerto Rico. The NFJP is an integral part of the public workforce system and a partner in the nationwide network of American Job Centers (also commonly referred to as One-Stop Career Centers).
The NFJP provides funding through a competitive grant process to community-based organizations and public agencies that assist MSFWs and their families attain greater economic stability. The program helps farmworkers acquire the new skills they need to start careers that offer higher wages and a more stable employment outlook. In addition to employment and training services, the program provides supportive services that help farmworkers retain and stabilize their current agriculture jobs, as well as enable them to participate in training and enter new careers. NFJP housing assistance helps to meet a critical need for the availability and quality of farmworker housing, and supports better economic outcomes for MSFWs and their families. The NFJP also facilitates the coordination of services through the American Job Center network for MSFWs so they may access other services of the public workforce system.
The NFJP serves eligible MSFWs and their dependents. Eligible farmworkers are those individuals who primarily depend on employment in agricultural labor that is characterized by chronic unemployment and underemployment.
Through the NFJP, the following services are available for MSFWs:
- WIA Core Services which include outreach, skills assessment, job search, WIA program eligibility determination and placement assistance. MSFWs are also given access to the other core services of the local American Job Center available to all job seekers.
- WIA Intensive Services which include more comprehensive skills assessment, an individual employment plan developed through a case management-based service strategy, group and individual counseling and career planning, short term prevocational services, such as interview skills or workplace readiness training.
- Training Services which include occupational skills and job training, on-the job training opportunities, programs that combine workplace training with related instruction, skills upgrading and retraining, entrepreneurial training, and other training activities.
- Related Assistance Services which include short-term direct assistance that helps farmworkers and their families retain or stabilize their agricultural employment or to participate in NFJP employment or training services. Related assistance may include help with transportation, nutrition, child care, or other supportive services.
- Housing Assistance which includes direct payments for emergency and temporary housing and for direct investments in housing assistance for MSFWs at their permanent residence. Other indirect assistance includes leveraging services to increase or maintain housing stock available to farmworkers and housing development designed to improve living conditions for underserved farmworker communities.
For Program Year 2013, the NFJP received a total of $79,896,847 in funding. Of this amount, $74,077,084 was allocated to the NFJP employment and training services; $5,382,212 was allocated to housing assistance; and $481,551 was allocated to training and technical assistance and other discretionary purposes.
ETA awards funding to 52 grantees to provide NFJP employment and training services. There is one grantee per state with the following exceptions: NFJP does not operate in Alaska and the District of Columbia, California has a total of 5 grantees, Connecticut and Rhode Island are served by one grantee, and Delaware and Maryland are served by one grantee. For NFJP housing assistance, there are 17 total grantees, most serving multiple states.
Participants and Outcomes
In Program Year 2012, over 21,000 MSFWs received services through the NFJP. The program exceeded the performance targets for Program Year 2012 with the following outcomes: entered employment rate of 85.5%, employment retention rate of 83.1%, and six months' average earnings of $10,533.
Featured Success Story
Jose was born in Guanajuato, Mexico, and moved with his family to the United States as a young child in 1987. Jose dropped out of high school to work in the fields with his family. Even though he worked long hours, he managed to study enough to obtain his GED. For a long time, he struggled doing minimum wage seasonal work and realized there had to be a better way to find a job.
|Number of farmworkers helped by NFJP in Program Year 2012
|Entered employment rate for NFJP participants in program year 2012
|Employment retention rate for NFJP participants in program year 2012