June 2017 Newsletter

Categories: News

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Proteus Partners with the Nebraska Department of Labor

Relationship results in better services to clients

 

Susan Billups Rabick is a Regional Director in Nebraska.

Susan Billups Rabick is a Regional Director in Nebraska.

Tucked into a small town in the southeastern part of the state is Beatrice, Nebraska. It is here that a robust partnership has developed, in part, due to the great work of Nebraska Department of Labor Comprehensive One-Stop Office Manager Karen Stohs, the Nebraska DOL staff and Proteus Case Manager Rachel Kreikemeier. This DOL office is housed on the campus of Southeast Community College’s Beatrice campus. Serving 13 counties in southeast Nebraska, office staff assist Proteus on a weekly basis by providing co-enrollment dollars as well as shared case management of mutual migrant and seasonal farmworker clients. Additional referrals are made to other SCC locations throughout the system through this office. Oftentimes, staff will ask the question, “Have you done farm work in the last two years?” If the answer is “yes” – a referral is made. Even Proteus Case Manager Kim Parnell, who services the SCC-Milford Campus, receives referrals from the DOL Beatrice Comprehensive One-Stop office.

On a yearly basis, SCC and DOL organize the Explore IT! Career Fair that Proteus has had the opportunity to sponsor. Being involved in the career fair, Proteus has the opportunity to recruit potential clients and get acquainted with businesses in the area who are hiring. This event also helps potential students learn that they don’t have to move far away from home to find good jobs.

rsz_dol_-_nebraska_-_beatrice_office_with_rachel_kreikemeier

Proteus Case Manager Rachel Kreikemeier, (front row, third from left) partners with the Beatrice, Neb. staff to serve migrant and seasonal farmworkers.

Operation EMPLOY is another event that gives Proteus an opportunity to spread the word about our services in addition to meeting potential clients and employers. These events, organized by Beatrice DOL staff, assist the community partners, of which Proteus is one.

Beatrice One-Stop staff consistently assist Kreikemeier with recruiting individuals who have farm work in their backgrounds. Although she does not office in this community, One-Stop staff make their conference rooms and other office space available to Proteus to use through a partnership agreement, a memorandum of understanding. Kreikemeier is grateful for the access to office space so that she can conduct group trainings in financial literacy through the UMOS Rent Smart grant and have a private space to conduct meetings. In return, Proteus participates in and financially supports activities of the One-Stop.

A big ‘Thank You!’ is offered to the staff of the Beatrice DOL Comprehensive One-Stop! It’s a great partnership for which Proteus staff in Nebraska are extremely grateful. Proteus Case Manager Rachel Kreikemeier shared these sentiments, “The partnership and customer service offered at the Beatrice office is top notch, second to none. They really do a great job!” in helping us serve migrant and seasonal farmworkers.

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Proteus Helps Student Succeed in Program

Assistance helped offset tuition and supplies costs

 

Rachael Headshot

Rachael Thompson is a Case Manager in Iowa.

Kyle Franzen had spent several years working seasonally for farmers helping care for livestock. After some time he realized that he wanted a career and not just a job. He made the decision to enroll in the Agriculture Power Technology Program at Hawkeye Community College, Waterloo, Iowa, because he’s always had an interest working on farm machinery. Kyle understood that financially, school would be a challenge as he wouldn’t be able to work as many hours as he would like during the week. “Some months I was barely making enough to get by,” he said.

Making the choice to enroll in many vocational programs can require a significant investment in a person’s career. In addition to the typical tuition and fees, students are often required to purchase a set of tools that can cost well over $2,000. This added expense can place a great deal of financial stress on a student.

In his first few weeks of school, Proteus Case Manager Rachael Thompson, Fort Dodge, Iowa, visited Kyle’s class. She talked about who could qualify for assistance from Proteus through the National Farmworker Jobs Program. Kyle says that, “I didn’t have much of a chance to work during the week so my only income was to drive one and a half hours on weekends to work at 6 different hog sites.” After hearing Rachael’s presentation, he knew he needed to see if he could receive help from Proteus.

Kyle, Proteus client

With help from Proteus, Kyle earned his degree and now has a new career.

After enrolling in the program, Kyle was able to benefit from many of the services that Proteus can provide. “Proteus was able to cover the remaining cost of my tools and helped pay rent for a month,” Kyle said. In addition, Kyle was able to benefit from a stipend for some of his time spent in class. When asked what he appreciated about getting help from Proteus he said, “They didn’t just hand you the money, you had to work for it, which I liked.”

After completing his program and receiving his degree in Ag Power Technology, Kyle was able to begin working full-time for Heesch Farms in Titonka, Iowa. In his work, he has the opportunity to use his degree to work on farm machinery, as well as continue to care for livestock. He was also able to increase his skills by being given the opportunity to remodel two hog sites and a site for cattle.

When asked about his experience participating in the National Farmworker Jobs Program, he said “Proteus was a great experience and I encourage anyone who could be eligible to enroll. I give the program a 10 out of 10. Thank you very much, Rachael!”

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Partner Collaboration Ensures Success

Migrant worker advocate speaks for farmworkers

 

Alison Mahoney-Doran is regional director in Iowa.

Alison Mahoney-Doran is Regional Director in Iowa.

Collaboration is important when serving migrant and seasonal farmworkers because of their transient nature and geographical isolation. Summer is one of the busiest times of the year because of the number of migrants entering the state. For this reason, it’s important to have beneficial collaborative efforts in serving one common audience-migrant and seasonal farmworkers. Having a statewide program serving specific regions is key to these partnerships, Knowing what each organization offers is helpful when traveling the state to serve these populations. Proteus offers services wherever the need takes us; programs such as National Farmworker Jobs Program, migrant health, heat stress, pesticide and leaf trainings are offered. We also offer services such as food pantries and some clothing closets in our offices in Des Moines, Fort Dodge and Iowa City, all located in Iowa.

Proteus has developed mutually beneficial relations with agricultural employers to provide necessary services to these workers. To ensure this population is being served, Proteus partners with organizations such as Iowa Legal Aid, Iowa Workforce Development and migrant education. We also work with employers Syngenta, Beck Hybrids and Monsanto, just to name a few. In addition, we are expanding our reach to community colleges throughout the state, including Southwestern Community College, Des Moines Area Community College and Iowa Western Community College.

Melissa Garcia

Melissa Garcia serves as the state monitor advocate, ensuring access for all job seekers.

Each partnership has benefits for the individual receiving services and for this reason it’s important to keep the collaboration going. One recent addition to the process, is Melissa Garcia who serves as state monitor advocate. In her role, she brings new ideas to the table to expand Proteus partnerships with other organizations and ensures that the employment and training services provided are proportionate to other job seekers.

It is exciting to see what other partnerships will develop and grow because of the ever-changing needs to support migrant and seasonal farmworkers. Proteus staff will continue to pursue positive growth and seek creative solutions to best serve these clients.

We are extremely fortunate to have Melissa Garcia as the state monitor advocate dedicated to serve this population, in addition to our other collaborating partners. Proteus continues to promote our services and the services offered by our partner organization which is helpful when serving our common audience-migrant and seasonal farmworkers.

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Proteus is Seeking a Health Care Manager – Bilingual

Proteus provides health care to migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families and we are seeking a Health Care Manager. This position will help administer the migrant health program, community outreach, patient case management, clinical management, and perform general medical screening to non‑acutely ill patients.

View the job posting and apply here.

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