August 2018 Newsletter

Categories: News


Charting a Course for a New Future

Antonio’s adventure starts with a summer internship


Jesusa Rivera is a Case Manager in Indiana.

Jesusa Rivera is a Case Manager in Indiana.

Maps, the paper kind that can be spread out, are so great! They’re fun to look at, study, imagine a wonderful adventure, and plot the starting point to your final destination. You can even add a detour that will bring a new adventure that will have an impact and even change the course.

Antonio was in 6th grade and 14 years old when he and his family moved from Mission, Texas, to northern Indiana. The trip was long but he was excited to begin working in the fields with his family.

“I thought it was easy at first just walking and taking off the little plants here and there, but then there was another field after another field and by the end of the day I was really tired. I slept the best that night,” he remembers. “When I woke up I was very tired and very sore. Day after day it was the same thing and after a while my body was getting used to it. Receiving my first check was the coolest thing.”

His earned $1,200.00 and his mom was very excited for him. She told him he could pick out clothes for school and some supplies. His dad showed him how to start a savings account.

When going on a journey having a map is extremely helpful. Antonio met Jesusa Rivera, Proteus Bilingual Case Manager, when she was recruiting at his high school. With her help, he got a summer internship which gave him Yes, Proteus assisted with him getting the work experience with a local business.

Antonio 2

With assistance from Proteus, Antonio completed a summer internship and it looking forward to attending college once he completes high school.

Once he completed his work experience at Pilo’s Body shop, Antonio looked to his next opportunity. He loved working at the shop and said, “Working with Pilo was one of the best things that has happened because I got to do what I love which is working on cars. He taught me how to sand down, grit and how to scuff the paint and give it a glossy look. I learned how to prep and paint a car. It was pretty great!”

With Jesusa’s guidance and passion for helping her clients succeed, Antonio is on track to graduate high school, college will follow and then job placement.

When asked by Jesusa if he is excited in making some really good money, Antonio replied, “Yes. I don’t see it as a job, I see it as getting paid for doing something I love!”

When Antonio finishes high school his goal is to enter Ivy Tech College and study for his certification in automotive technology.

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Work Experience Leads to Degree

Farmwork qualifies for program support



Kim Parnell is a Case Manager in Nebraska.

Ridge Bohac had worked as a farmhand since he was 14 years old. In farming, you’re a jack-of-all-trades, doing whatever needs to be done. He fixed fence, cleared trees, cut and baled hay, made general repairs on farm machinery, cared for livestock — anything!

When he was ready to graduate from high school, he knew that he wanted a career with something he liked to do and something that he was good at. He was good working with his hands, as his farmwork had shown him. He had cousins and friends who worked as railroad mechanics or had careers as farm machinery mechanics. With the skills that he had already learned, he felt he would be a good fit for something similar.

With guidance and support from his Proteus Case Manger, Ridge was able to receive tuition assistance and services through the National Farmworker Jobs Program.


With guidance and support from Proteus, Ridge received tuition assistance and services through the National Farmworker Jobs Program.

Ridge began the diesel truck technology program in January 2016 and graduated with an associate of applied science degree in June 2017. He liked the program at Southeast Community College, Lincoln, Nebraska, because it was very “hands on.”

“You could touch, see and do while you learning” he said. Ridge completed a three-month internship with Truck Center Companies, a full-service truck repair and body work company, while attending SCC. He was hired full-time when he graduated three months later.

Ridge continues to learn at Truck Center Companies. He attends training for electrical, HVAC and other areas, while earning certifications. He enjoys his work, saying, “There is always something new happening. No truck comes in with the same problem. It keeps the job interesting.”

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Making the Move

Alex benefits from Proteus services


Patrick Taggart is a Regional Director in Iowa.

Patrick Taggart is a Regional Director in Iowa.

Nearing the end of his college studies, Alex Brown began to wonder if he could make it to graduation. Having only a semester and a half remaining, financial difficulties were taking their toll. Upon seeing a Proteus flyer offering aid for those who had been employed in farmwork, he called the Iowa City office seeking help. Case Manager Jamie Vanis was quick to meet with Alex and determine he would be eligible for the National Farmworker Jobs Program. Relieved to know assistance would be provided, Alex was able to put all of his focus on school.

Alex Brown

While in school, Alex received a stipend for his class hours as well as tools and equipment.

Having worked for a couple of local farmers near Waterville, Iowa, Alex found he enjoyed working with his hands and seeing his accomplishments. Transferring his skills to welding was easy and he soon found he had a natural knack. While in school Alex received a stipend for his class hours. He also received tools and the required work boots to be used in school and for future employment.

Graduating in the spring of 2017, Alex was quick to find work at Altect, a company in Duluth, Minnesota. He is earning $16.45 per hour and thoroughly enjoys his work. Being provided with the necessary tools and equipment relieved a lot of stress as he progressed on his career pathway, especially when making a move that far away from home.

Having Proteus behind him added a level of security as Alex made a big life transition, a move that greatly benefited his future – both personally and financially.

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Determination Leads to New Career

Max graduates from powerline program


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

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

Max Upah first heard about Proteus during an orientation session at Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon, Iowa. He chose this school because of its excellent powerline program, even though it’s located far from home.

“I knew I wanted a trade where I could work with my hands and still feel like I was benefiting the world,” he said. Max enrolled in the program knowing that he would be taking full schedule of classes which wouldn’t leave very much time for work. Max was prepared to struggle in order to earn his degree and begin a career.

After hearing a presentation from Fort Dodge Case Manager Melissa Rude, Max was very interested in finding out if he could qualify for assistance. Before enrolling in school, Max had been working seasonally, taking care of livestock and hauling grain. After speaking with Melissa he was quickly enrolled into the National Farmworker Jobs Program. Max was able to earn a stipend for the time that he spent in class.

Max Upah

Max earned his degree in powerline program and has a full-time job that supports him.

“It gives people such a good opportunity to be able to study without having to worry about how they are going to feed themselves that night,” he said. During the program, Max met regularly with Melissa and let her know of any concerns. In May, 2018 Max was able to graduate with his associates degree in powerline technology.

After graduating from school, Max had the skills he needed to begin working full-time. Within a month of completing the program, he began working for Consumers Energy and moved back to his hometown.

After years of living paycheck to paycheck, he was now earning $29.62 per hour plus full benefits. Max is grateful for the assistance that Proteus was able to provide.

“You can tell that they want you to succeed to the next level and will help you get there. It is such an awesome program to go through without any headaches whatsoever,” Max said.

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Proteus Client Earns Nursing Degree

Andrea earns two degrees and has a new profession


Alison Mahoney-Doran is Regional Director in Iowa.

Alison Mahoney-Doran is Regional Director in Iowa.

When Andrea VanScoy first heard of Proteus during a classroom presentation by a National Farmworker Jobs Program case manager, she was enrolled in the nursing program at Southwestern Community College, Red Oak, Iowa. Prior to entering the program, Andrea was a seasonal farmworker, working with cattle, at the BLF Legacy Farms, LLC.


Andrea was able to complete two degrees with assistance from Proteus. She now works full-time as a nurse.

After hearing the program, Andrea realized she wanted to learn more about the NFJP. She wasted no time in getting into contact and providing the appropriate documentation to the Proteus Case Manager. After consideration, the Andrea was accepted into the program and she received assistance to help with items such as textbooks, scrubs and tuition. These benefits helped reduce some of Andrea’s financial burden and her debt, giving her relief.

Andrea graduated with a licensed practical nursing degree in 2016. She remained in contact with Proteus as she applied for and was accepted into the registered nursing program at Southwestern Community College. This was great news as the demand for nursing services is high, especially in southern Iowa.

In July, Andrea graduated with a degree as a registered nurse with help from Proteus and other support service programs. She has a full-time position as an RN at Greater Regional Health Center in Creston, Iowa. Her new position will allow her and her fiancé to experience a better their future.

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