April 2017 Newsletter

Categories: News

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Taking the First Step

With dedication, Edward and Katie increased their incomes

 

Randall Collins is a Regional Director In Indiana.

Entering the Work One office was difficult for Edward. As a seasonal farmworker, he knew that the work was non-existent in the winter, but he never imagined that the farmer he worked for would simply not need as many workers this year. After years of low wages, inconsistent hours and odd jobs, Edward realized he needed something different for the sake of his family; with support from his wife, Katie, he asked for assistance. Thankfully, his Work One case manager referred him to Proteus.

Throughout the intake process, Edward was concerned that the opportunity for a quality job would simply not be available for him. The Proteus Case Manager helped Edward build his resume and complete job applications. While he was concerned about his lack of skills, the case manager explained how his skills of a farmworker are easily transferrable to other opportunities.

Katie and Ed

Kate, their daughter, and Edward have benefited from the services provided by Proteus. Through training programs,. Kate and Edward have increased their skills and their employability.

During the time Edward was preparing to apply for jobs, another Proteus Case Manager and Proteus Regional Director were meeting with the state hiring coordinator for Laborers Union International of North America Apprenticeship Program. Edward applied for and was accepted into the LUINA Program. His beginning apprentice salary was exactly double his wages at the farm.

Just a few short weeks later, Katie met with Proteus staff. Through her assessment and career exploration, Katie recognized and began her career pathway. After a semester of college to brush up on her education skills, she began a training program at the local hospital. As a work and learn program it has offered her the ability to get her education and work simultaneously.

While they are still on their career pathway, Edward and Katie recognize and appreciate the assistance available through Proteus. Together, they have nearly tripled their wages. When they have both have completed their training, they will have increased their wages by more than five times in just over a year of training. For their daughter, their families and themselves, their achievements have been extraordinary!

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Case Manager Creates Incredible Partnerships

Assistant professors tells students about Proteus

 

As a Proteus Case Manager, a large portion of your week is spent performing outreach throughout your service area to locate individuals who can benefit from the National Farmworker Jobs Program. Many times throughout the year case managers speak to students who are in vocational programs at a local community colleges. While you are speaking primarily with the students, you also have a tremendous opportunity to get to know the instructor or faculty as well.

Corey Menning is an instructor who has been able to see how much Proteus assistance has helped students in his class and has been a terrific partner for Proteus. Corey has been the program coordinator and assistant professor for the construction technology program at Iowa lakes Community College since 2003. He is very passionate about the construction industry and wants to make sure that he is helping train well rounded, hard-working, knowledgeable and energetic workers. He said, “I love being able to show students all the different aspects of construction and all of the opportunities available!”

Corey Menning, instriuctor at Iowa Central Community College sees first-hand how Proteus programs support his students.

Corey Menning, instructor at Iowa Lakes Community College sees first-hand how Proteus programs support his students.

Corey first recalled hearing about Proteus when Case Manager Melissa Rude asked to present to students in his class.“When she was talking about the program and all it has to offer,it was obvious that she enjoyed what she does and helping students meant a lot to her,” said Corey. One thing that surprised him was how many different ways that Proteus can help students. Many students receive a weekly allowance for time spent in class and students can also qualify for tuition assistance or mileage depending on their circumstances.

Corey has many memories of his students being part of the NFJP Program. “A few years ago, a student named Norman qualified for help from Proteus. I could see the weight being lifted off his shoulders when he got his first check.” While working with his students, Corey has been able to hear how grateful they are and the sense of relief Proteus has been able to bring them.

Whenever Corey hears from a student that they have worked in agriculture, he immediately puts them in touch with Melissa to see if they can qualify for services. The construction technologies program at Iowa Lakes Community College is truly one of Proteus’ great partnerships.

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Collaboration Helps Proteus Client

Kurt benefits from the partnerships Proteus provides

Randall Collins is a Regional Director In Indiana.

 

While attending an information forum about Proteus, Don, a case worker for disabled veterans, gathered information and continued about his business. A few days later he met with a new client, Kurt. During the intake process, Kurt mentioned that his last job was at a local farm where he worked for several seasons and he was currently having difficulty finding full-time employment. Remembering the recent forum he attended, Don contacted Proteus to find out more about their program. The next day, a Proteus Case Manager met Don and Kurt at the local Work One office. Because Kurt faced multiple barriers, the Proteus Case Manager felt he would be an excellent client for Proteus.

Kurt

Kurt’s case manager for disabled vets referred him to Proteus. This step resulted in his entrance in an apprenticeship welding program and a new career.

Through planning and preparation, Kurt attended a local welding certification course. While he was originally hesitant about attending school, he was able to progress quite well. In a short three weeks, he was at the top of the class and passed his certification. With assistance from Proteus for tools and the necessary protective gear, Don with skill building, Vet Opps (a local veteran’s assistance group) with housing issues, and Ivy Tech Community College Auto Repair Program, Kurt was able to overcome some of his barriers. He was given the opportunity to join the Local Boilermaker Union Apprenticeship Program. Because he was already certified in welding, he was eligible for a direct entrance and began classes immediately.

It has been a year since Kurt met Don and he has gone from being a laid-off seasonal farmworker, living on his friend’s coach with limited transportation to a boilermaker apprentice with an apartment of his own and transportation to get to work.

From Don, the disabled veteran’s case manager, to the Proteus team, to local partners, these collaborative efforts provided assistance to Kurt, allowing him to create his career pathway leading to a greater life.

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Fort Dodge Migrant Health Program

On-site clinics provides provide services when and where they are needed

Monica Chavez is a Bilingual Health Care Manager in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

 

Farmworkers are important to the U.S. economy because they have a vital role in feeding our country. Each year, thousands of farmworkers travel to Iowa to perform agricultural activities such as seeding, detasseling, harvesting, animal care and more. Agricultural work is hard, demanding and dangerous, and while the farmworker population is at a higher risk for injuries and health problems, they also face many challenges in accessing basic health care services. These include: lack of health insurance, language barriers, no access to transportation, inconvenient clinic operating hours, etc.

Through the migrant health program, Proteus facilitates access to primary health care by holding year-round mobile and on-site clinics at locations and times that are convenient to the workers. In 2016, the Proteus – Fort Dodge office organized monthly clinics in Clarion and Fort Dodge and three summer clinics in West Bend. In March 2017, Proteus added a mobile clinic in Webster City and is organizing summer clinics in Iowa Falls, Onawa, Eldora, Harland and Whiting.

Proteus partners with libraries, churches and nonprofits for the mobile clinics. The partner organizations provide the site and Proteus provides all the medical supplies and staff including physician assistants, nurse practitioners, interpreters and health aides.

Migrant Health - April Newsletter

Proteus hosts on-site health clinics across Iowa, serving migrants and farmworkers.

The clinics consist of five stations, starting with check-in. At the intake station, health aides help patients enroll in the program. After answering a couple of eligibility questions and sharing demographic information, clients are informed of their privacy rights. Once the paperwork is complete, the patient’s vitals are checked and some basic lab exams are performed. When being assessed by the physician assistant, nurse practitioner or doctor, interpretation services are offered. During examination, the patient may be referred to the health education station to receive one-on-one education on a variety of health topics. Proteus also has a small mobile pharmacy and the majority of the prescribed medications and over-the-counter drugs ordered by the providers are dispensed from this pharmacy. When done, patients visit the check-out station where they pay based on a sliding fee scale and schedule a follow up appointment, if advised by their provider. Service is never denied, even when they can’t pay.

Proteus health staff is trained in cultural competency to provide quality care to our target population. A bilingual health care manager schedules appointments, arranges transportation, and helps patients apply for financial assistance and interpretation services if needed. Proteus providers also make referrals for other free services such as specialists, dental care, eye exams, prenatal care and other health screenings. Chronic disease management, cancer prevention, immunizations, medication assistance enrollment, diabetes self-care education, nutrition education, sexually transmitted disease testing and low cost X-rays are among the services Proteus provides in partnership with other health organizations across the state.

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Nebraska Outreach with Future Farmers of America

Event expands awareness of Proteus

Susan Babcock Rabick is

Susan Billups Rabick is a Regional Director in Nebraska.

 

During the first week of April 2017, over 4,500 students and 2,500 advisors, parents and guests participated in activities at the annual Nebraska FFA convention. From all corners of the state, students from middle school through college descend upon the city of Lincoln to attend the state convention for their national organization. At stake, at the end of the week, are awards for individual performances and composite scores for schools.

The casual observer might wonder why this is an important activity for the youth of this agricultural state. The answer is as varied as the activities that occur during this event. The bottom line is that Nebraska is #1 in the nation for the production of beef, veal, dry edible beans and popcorn – to name a few commodities. As all businesses are finding, human capital is the greatest asset in any industry. Agricultural workers are being nurtured through this organization in addition to many community partners, including Proteus.

Case Managers Kim Parnell and Anna Santos spent productive hours at the annual Nebraska State FFA Convention.

Case Managers Kim Parnell and Anna Santos spent productive hours at the recent Nebraska State FFA Convention.

Unfortunately, farming is a costly business to enter without the backing of family members and operations. Many rural youth, or even older adults, desire to stay in their communities to raise families and be productive individuals, but their financial resources are limited. Some people find themselves as “dislocated workers” when jobs move elsewhere, or their skills haven’t kept up with what is needed in the 21st century.

Proteus and our Department of Labor partners have long known that an individual might benefit from additional training to keep up with the demands of today’s workforce. As one way to present the training services provided through the National Farmworker Jobs Program, Proteus staff attend this event to reach out to individuals who might benefit from either short-term or long-term training programs.

The “art of outreach” has been perfected by Nebraska Proteus staff at this event. Not all staff go to the convention to recruit NFJP candidates – but the resulting interested parties are referred to other Proteus staff in local communities throughout the state. Not every FFA student wants to stay in agriculture – some may desire a short-term training program to earn their commercial driver’s license; others may wish to study livestock management, marketing or natural resources – all options by working with Proteus and local community college partners throughout Nebraska.

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Aweemiko: We are allies

Aya niihka; translates to ‘Hello Friend’

Randall Collins is a Regional Director In Indiana.

 

As a community member and a Case Manager for Proteus, I have had the privilege of building relationships with various organizations and individuals in the region I serve. The Miami Nation of Indians of Indiana has been a wonderful and unique partnership that offers food support through their community garden and food pantry, and needed household goods for farmworkers and their families through donations from their thrift store. On a moment’s notice, they have opened their doors for individuals in need. Because of their partnership, the Miami Indian Nation of Indiana was asked to join Proteus in a proclamation signing recognizing National Farmworker Awareness Week and César Chávez Day.

Miami Indian

The Miami Indian Nation of Indiana was asked to join Proteus in a proclamation signing recognizing National Farmworker Awareness Week and Caesar Chavez Day.

As many of us know from history class, the Miami Indian Nation’s homeland was throughout Indiana and surrounding states, deep in the heartland of farming. For hundreds of years, this land has been farmed by the Miami Indian tribes, as well as the settlers who followed. From the beginning of settler migration in Indiana, the people of the Miami Indian nation created a bond with the settlers. While the Miami Tribe knew what plants were safe to eat and which ones grew best in certain areas, the settlers shared their farming tools and new crops. Additionally, the recipes and cooking methods they shared can be recognized in the unique ways Hoosiers cook and eat to this day.

Understanding what the great people of the Miami Nation gave to the future of agriculture will forever be felt in what and how we eat, as well as the knowledge of the land and nature of Indiana farmland. As the first farmworkers of this land, on March 18 the Miami Indian Nation joined Proteus in recognizing farmworkers by declaring the week of March 24-31, 2017, as National Farmworker Awareness Week and honoring over 200 years of the spirit and hard work of farmworkers throughout Indiana.

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Events Promote National Farmworker Awareness Week

Indiana shines light on partnerships

Randall Collins is a Regional Director In Indiana.

 

Because we observe and recognize the plight of migrant and seasonal farmworkers daily, we work to bring awareness and recognition to farmworkers across the state of Indiana. National Farmworker Awareness Week allows Proteus – Indiana the opportunity to engage the public, inform the community, and celebrate farmworkers who work and live throughout the state.

In cooperation with the Indiana Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Coalition and other community partners, Proteus had the pleasure of attending and hosting several events during National Farmworker Awareness Week, March 24 to 31. The week-long celebration ended with a recognition and awards ceremony at Ivy Tech Community College in South Bend, Indiana. Through a passionate introduction, Proteus Regional Director Randall Collins provided an understanding and explanation of all that Proteus and its community partners can accomplish by working together to assist farmworkers and their families.

We heard from two Proteus clients who have overcome many barriers. After spending a lifetime working on various farms, Gwen has earned a degree, built a business and created a network of contacts. As a migrant farmworker, Kevin struggled with earning an education and keeping hope, but through his hard work and with assistance from Proteus, he is working toward a career in firefighting and emergency service.

We heard from the Second District Representative from Elkhart Indiana and a spokesperson for Mayor Pete Buttigieg who both spoke with great enthusiasm about farmworkers and the need for greater awareness. Regional Director Randall Collins then presented recognition to Proteus community partners. These included: Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Ivy Tech Community College, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Saint Vincent DePaul, Food Bank of Northern Indiana and Indiana State Representative Patrick Bauer; who have all gone above and beyond in fighting for farmworker rights and the needs of farmworkers throughout their communities in a multitude of ways.

A special thank you was presented to Randall Collins for his support and passion for farmworkers and their families. Proteus Case Manager Jesusa Rivera lead everyone in a César Chávez-inspired chant and gave an impassioned call to action for more awareness in wages, safety and working conditions. This exciting day ended in closing remarks by Randall Collins and a reception catered by Gwen Mottl Catering.

As an organization, Proteus Inc. was able to honor and recognize those who recognize and fight for farmworker rights and needs. As community partners, members of our state, and individuals who are nourished by the labor of farmworkers, we had the great honor of celebrating and recognizing the farmworkers of past and present by declaring the week of March 24 to March 31 as National Farmworker Awareness Week and March 31 as César Chávez Day!

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Row 1 – Left: Randall Collins, Indiana Regional Director welcomed everyone.
Row 1 – Right: Dwight Fish, Elkhart 4th District Councilman share uplifting words in welcoming everyone to Indiana
Row 2 – Left: A Leadership Award was presented to Randall Collins, Indiana Regional Director by Melynda Pinckley, Case Manager on behalf of the Proteus Indiana Team.
Row 2 – Right: Dan Seely, and members from St. Vincent de Paul Society receive an award from Proteus
Row 3 – Left: Jesusa Rivera, Case Manager, shared a few remarks about César Chávez.
Row 3 – Right: Gwen Mottl, former client explains her how she became an entrepreneur after graduating as a Chef from Ivy Tech

 

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Proteus Case Manager Brings Diverse Skills

Welcome, Joey!

Joey

Joseph Choate is a Case Manager in Iowa.

 

This month has been an exciting one for our Des Moines office. Joseph Choate joined our team on April 3. Going by his nickname, Joey, he will work as a case manager for the National Farmworker Jobs Program in the Des Moines region.

Joey will cover the central to eastern portions of the state and counties in his area include: Boone, Story, Harrison, Shelby, Audubon, Guthrie, Dallas, Polk, Pottawattamie, Cass, Adair, Madison, Warren, Mills, Montgomery, Adams, Union, Clarke, Fremont and Page. The schools in his coverage area include: Iowa Western Community College, Des Moines Area Community College – Boone, Perry, Urban and Ankeny campuses, Southwestern Community College – Red Oak Campus and Vatterott College.

Joey comes to Proteus with a great deal of knowledge of case management. Working in a variety of fields, including social work and insurance, working in the public and private sectors. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Upper Iowa University with a major in psychology and a minor in sociology.

Joey has a strong passion for working with others, including the seasonal and migrant farmers under the program. His first steps will be learning about his coverage area and meeting his professional partners.

Please help us in welcoming Joey to the Proteus team.

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