April 2018 Newsletter

Categories: News

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Few Options for a New Career

Hector benefits from partnerships

 

Patrick Taggart is a Regional Director in Iowa.

Patrick Taggart is a Regional Director in Iowa.

Working on a seasonal basis for a local dairy farmer near Postville, Iowa, was not going to provide Hector Galvan with the future he wanted. Knowing he needed to obtain skills in a school setting, he looked into enrolling at Northeast Iowa Community College’s mechanic program. At orientation, Hector was disheartened to learn that there was no financial support due to his DACA status. As he mulled his options at the college event, he walked by a Proteus booth displaying opportunities for farmworkers. With great interest, Hector was excited to learn he may qualify for services that would help him get through school. After meeting the eligibility guidelines, Hector was quickly approved just before the semester began and he was able to begin classes on time.

Hector Galvan

Hector completed his degree and is now employed with an agribusiness firm working in equipment production.

The Iowa Workforce Development office in Decorah and Proteus teamed up to ensure Hector’s tuition was covered, allowing him to begin his career pathway that would have otherwise not been obtainable. While enrolled, Hector received assistance with tool purchases and groceries as well as having a case manager to support him with the challenges college can present. Knowing that his tuition would be taken care of provided Hector with a great sense of relief. Through his tenure at NICC, both Iowa Workforce Development and Proteus worked collaboratively to ensure Hector’s success.

Hector graduated in the spring of 2017 and wasted little time in finding employment. Using the skills learned at NICC, he now works on factory machine equipment at Agristar in his hometown of Postville, Iowa. In this role he enjoys the challenges of troubleshooting issues and applying his expertise to keep the production line moving.

Hector is a prime example of what Proteus and the National Farmworkers Job Program can do for farmworkers who are faced with few options to advance their careers. Partnerships with local agencies and the college Hector attended were greatly appreciated and emphasize the benefit of everyone working together and changing lives.

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Proteus Offers Health and Safety Training

Indiana programs attended by 2,500 farmworkers each year

 

Randall Collins is a Regional Director In Indiana.

Randall Collins is a Regional Director In Indiana.

In April of each year, and prior to the beginning of the planting season, the number of Worker Protection Safety training programs increases for Proteus case managers in Indiana. Farmers and farmworkers begin to prep for the busy season and need this important information.

In Indiana, Proteus case managers are at the forefront of these training programs to benefit their clients. The number of farmworker training sessions conducted annually has exceeded more than 2,500 participants and it continues to grow, especially during the peak agricultural season, April to September. According to the Center for Disease Control, the agriculture industry is one of the most dangerous businesses for its workers. In 2017, it is estimated that over 3,500,000 farmworkers were laboring in the agriculture production in the United States. The number of crop farmworkers each year is between 1.5-2 million with many of those exposed to pesticides and heat stress.

The National Center for Farmworker Health, Inc. has published a factsheet describing the variety of circumstances that migrant workers face each year. Noting that the farmworkers are, “the backbone for a multi-billion dollar agricultural industry”. Even though they often work 50+ hours a week, farmworkers are often the most economically underprivileged population in the United States. Low economic conditions may cause a desperation to work longer shifts in fast-paced and exhausting positions as noted by Pat Lohmann. After enduring such hours the seasonal worker may neglect going to medical clinics, educational facilities or other agencies that can provide social services.

EPA-certified, WPS training can help agribusinesses and farmers protect their migrant and seasonal farmworkers from serious or fatal accidents by teaching employees and their families the dangers of overexposure to pesticides, tractor safety and heat stress. Opportunities for connecting with community associates for additional resources for their seasonal employees may also be presented. This gives many agribusinesses the opportunity to demonstrate their concern for their employees and identifies the support provided by Indiana Proteus case managers.

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Taking a Step Toward the Future

Changing Yvette’s Career Pathway

 

Jeanie Gore is a Case Manager in Indiana.

Jeanie Gore is a Case Manager in Indiana.

Yvette Mendoza’s life as a migrant worker did not support the path she needed to follow to achieve her dreams of a career in healthcare. When she attended a worker protection standard training session during a parent-teacher meeting at the local migrant daycare, Yvette’s future began to change. At the meeting, she met Proteus Case Manager Jeanie Gorr with the National Farmworker Jobs Program. As a single mother, Yvette was struggling to make ends meet and she was seeking opportunities to increase her skills.

Yvette Mendoza

With support from her case manager, Yvette Mendoza now has a career in healthcare.

Yvette initially met the Proteus case manager when she was working for a tomato grower in Ohio that had a contract for the Indiana Red Gold Company. Although Yvette lived in Geneva, Indiana, she would travel to Ohio to plant and sort tomatoes for the grower. Later in the season, she would work at Red Gold located in Indiana.

When Yvette enrolled in the NFJP program, it was more than she expected. The transition from being a migrant worker to a resident of Indiana seemed overwhelming. However, Yvette’s strength and ingenuity helped her adapt and she started taking steps toward a new future.

While enrolled with Proteus, Yvette began taking classes to become a certified nursing assistant. Now that she has earned her CNA certification, she is now working for R & R Employment making $15.00 an hour and is able to earn enough money to provide for her family.

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Proteus Client Finds New Career

Internship results in full-time position

 

Susan Billups Rabick is a Regional Director in Nebraska.

Susan Billups Rabick is a Regional Director in Nebraska.

Brendan Hahn is a typical young man from rural Nebraska. He grew up near DeWitt, in Saline County. Case Manager Rachel Kreikemeier has known Brendan since his freshman year at Southeast Community College – Beatrice. They met when she made a presentation to incoming students. She has functioned as his sounding board as well as the person who guided him through the ins and outs of financial aid–learning about FAFSA and helping him try to get though school without significant debt.

Brendan Hahn, Nebraska-April Newsletter

With the help of his Proteus Case Manager, Branden has a new career.

Southeast Community College has a robust internship program that has a demonstrated success rate at placing their students with employers that will nurture and reward their student/employees and as part of his curriculum, Branden needed to participate in an internship. What was available for Brandan was a large hog operation with the Plymouth Ag Group. Even though hogs were out of his comfort zone, Branden decided to take the chance on learning this side of agriculture.

Evidently Branden did well, because three weeks into his internship, he was offered a full-time job with the Plymouth Ag Group. Both the wages and benefits are competitive–he has 100% paid health insurance, vacation, a whole hog to butcher, and a $4/hour raise after his internship. Since he graduated in March of 2018, Branden has been able to cash rent some cropland and also start his own cow-calf herd.

Thanks to Proteus, Branden is working toward his educational and career goals.

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Proteus Client Reaches Career Goals

Matt has a new job and future

 

Matt Winkel is a Regional Director in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Matt Winkel is a Regional Director in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Matt Ries is no stranger to hard work. He was accustomed to working on a seasonal basis helping to care for pigs, as well as baling hay. While he did enjoy this work, he knew it wasn’t a job that would support him in the long run. Matt had always had an interest in fixing things and working on machinery. After being exposed to this field while working seasonally, he made the decision to make mechanics his career.

He enrolled at Northwest Iowa Community College in the heavy equipment program. After attending an orientation session, he heard about the benefits that Proteus could provide through the National Farmworker Jobs Program from Proteus Case Manager Melissa Rude. Enrolling in school wouldn’t allow him to work as many hours and the reduction in income can quickly determine a student’s success in completing their degree. He said, “I was surprised how much they care for your education and how they want to help in any way they can.”

Matt Ries

Matt Ries accepting his degree from Northwest Iowa Community College.

During his time in school, Proteus was able to help Matt with tuition and stipend for his time in class. Proteus was able to offset some of the financial burden that enrolling in school can cause. Matt was able to focus on his work and earn excellent grades without having to worry about how all of his bills were going to get paid. He was extremely grateful for all the assistance that Proteus could provide.

After putting in the time and effort needed to earn his degree, Matt has begun working full-time working on heavy machinery at Stratford Gravel. No longer will he need to worry from day to day when his current job would be ending and how his bills would be paid the following month.

He said, “Proteus has helped me succeed financially and helped pursue my career in the heavy equipment field at my new employer.”

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BUY EAT LIVE Healthy

Partnership program with ISU Extension and Outreach

 

Alison Mahoney-Doran is Regional Director in Iowa.

Alison Mahoney-Doran is Regional Director in Iowa.

The Proteus health clinic in Des Moines has partnered with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach to offer a FREE (income guidelines apply) program that helps individuals provide nutritious food for their families, leading to healthier choices through everyday living. The program helps low resource families to develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors needed to improve their diets.

Extension specialists attend the Proteus health clinic to provide families with this opportunity. The program, offered in Spanish, is structured for small groups and includes a 6 week curriculum. Participants receive recipes, weekly healthy snack ideas, basic cooking ideas, ideas for physical activity and guidance for goal setting.

Flyer to promote healthy eating program.

Attendees also learn how to budget their food dollars, save time and money by planning meals, stay healthy by making wise food choices, keep food safe to eat, feed their children, increase physical activity and prepare healthy snacks. In the beginning, the program was referral based; now clients attend on a weekly basis just to participate in the class.

The response has been amazing. Each week 5 to 7 individuals and their family members show up for the program. With this success, Proteus plans to continue the program; our patients enjoy attending and learning.

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