October 2018 Newsletter

Categories: News


Proteus Farmworker Appreciation Event

Special Showing of ‘After I Pick the Fruit’


Join us October 25 for a free showing of “After I Pick the Fruit.”
Social hour – 6:00 p.m. | Film – 7:00 p.m.
The Fleur Cinema and Cafe – 4545 Fleur Drive, Des Moines, Iowa

After I Pick the Fruit follows the lives of five immigrant farmworker women over a ten-year period as they labor in the apple orchards and fields of rural western New York, migrate seasonally to Florida, raise their families, and try to hide from the Bush-era immigration raids that were conducted in response to 9/11. Filmed in New York, Florida, and Mexico, this intimate, bittersweet, feature-length film illuminates a community that is nearly invisible to most Americans, and will change the way you look at our national ‘immigration problem.’”

This film event is free.

Migrant Farmworker has Better Life

Proteus helps Gustavo earn CDL


Randall Collins is a Regional Director In Indiana.

Randall Collins is a Regional Director In Indiana.

We’re happy to share the story of Gustavo a migrant farmworker who settled in Indiana. He defeated the odds by upgrading his employment skills for a better life. A year later, he maintains a stable job with good pay and benefits.

Gustavo became a National Farmworker Jobs Program participant in September, 2017, after being referred by our community partner, Indiana Department of Workforce Development. With the assistance of Proteua, Gustavo completed his commercial drivers license training and earned his CDL. Proteus provided tuition assistance, a stipend and case management services to Gustavo as he attended C1 Truck Driver Training. Proteus partners with C1 Truck Driver Training to help clients attend affordable truck driving school.

After earning his CDL, Gustavo found full-time employment with Syndicate Sales through the support of Proteus. A year later, Gustavo continues to be an over-the-road driver for the logistics trucking company, Hurryin’ Hoosier Transport.

Before Gustavo earned his license, he had worked the fields as a migrant farmworker. He is now earning $24.91 an hour, more than he earned when working the fields.

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Students Seeking High Skilled Careers Benefit

Partnership with community college offers support


Maria Shinstock is a Case Manager in Nebraska.

Maria Shinstock is a Case Manager in Nebraska.

In the year Maria Schinstock, a case manager in Nebraska, has been working at Proteus she has greatly expanded the partnership between Proteus and Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska. She works with students who take classes in veterinary technology, nursing, precision agriculture, welding, drafting and diesel technology to name a few. These high skill industries offer high demand jobs with high wages. Dr. Michael R. Chipps, President, Northeast Community College, hopes that the partnership continues to grow.

“And really, you [Proteus] are part of that solution to workforce development and also workforce success,” Dr. Chipps said.

“Organizations like Proteus help us even more than other organizations with our students because case managers there work one-on-one to make sure they are okay,” Dr. Chipps said.

Dr. Cipps NECC

The partnership between Proteus and Northeast Community College benefits many students in high skilled programs.

As a Proteus Case Worker, Maria works with students who are transitioning from high school to college. Oftentimes, these students are the first ones in their family to go to college. She starts at the beginning and assists students with career exploration and guides students in creating plans to move past barriers.

Early in his career, Dr. Chipps was a meat packer and he saw many workers who had potential to do more. Having the support system that Proteus offers is conducive to bettering the lives for individuals who want to do more. He hopes that, “Northeast’s partnership with Proteus continues to grow for the sake of the lives of many who want to have a successful college experience and a job after it.” In fact, a recent Proteus client, secured a job right after graduating from NECC making $17 and hour as a welder.

As the partnership between NECC and Proteus continues to grow, more farmworkers and their families will be impacted in a positive way.

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High School Dreams Become Reality

From farmworker to motorcycle technician


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

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

From a very young age, Jacob Cole knew what he wanted to do with his life. Growing up he was interested in cars and motorcycles and he wanted to become a motorcycle technician. During high school, Jacob learned some basic mechanical skills, but he knew the only way to pursue a successful career would be to attend community college.

Jacob had been working for several farmers helping to care for livestock, baling hay and harvesting. The seasonal nature of this work made for a difficult decision when it came to going to school. After considering several options he decided to enroll in the power sports/power equipment program at Iowa Lakes Community College. The Emmetsburg, Iowa, program has a great degree offering, but would it would leave little time for Jacob to earn income to make ends meet. He had two years of hard work before him.

Jacob Cole

Jacob graduated from community college and started a new career with help from Proteus.

During a classroom presentation, Jacob heard about the assistance that Proteus offers. He contacted Proteus Case Manager Melissa to learn more. Within a short time he was enrolled into the National Farmworker Jobs Program. As participant, Jacob benefited from a stipend, enabling him to keep his focus on his degree.

When asked how he felt about the program he said, “Proteus has really surprised me with the amount of assistance they give their clients. Without them, I don’t believe I would have made it all the way through college.”

With the assistance he received from Proteus, Jacob was able to complete his program in two years and graduate with honors. He started working for Okoboji Harley-Davidson as a motorcycle technician and is now able to support himself in a career he enjoys.

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Fixing a Future

Completion of program leads to new career


Patrick Taggart is a Regional Director in Iowa.

Patrick Taggart is a Regional Director in Iowa City, Iowa.

While working seasonally for a local grain farmer near Davenport, Iowa, Colton Fersch found he enjoyed working on diesel engines. The sheer power emitted from these machines was appealing to him and a career repairing and increasing their performance was soon realized by Colton. Knowing what he wanted to do for a career was the easy part; figuring out how to achieve his goal proved to be a little more difficult.

Not letting financial challenges hold him back, Colton enrolled in the diesel technician program at Eastern Iowa Community College, located in Davenport. Class instructor Ken Hunter was quick to refer Colton to Proteus. Ken has been a long time partner with Proteus and witnessed firsthand the positive effect the National Farmworkers Job Program has. After meeting with Proteus Case Manager Jamie Vanis, Colton was approved and his aspirations were more easily attained. Receiving a stipend was helpful, but what Colton appreciated the most was the tools he could purchase and the assistance he had developing his resume. For the latter, Colton was concerned as he had no experience in this industry.

Colton Fersch

With support from Proteus, Colton earned his degree and is now working full-time in a job he loves.

Colton graduated in May, 2018, and was able to list his work experience and tools on his resume. He was quickly hired as a diesel mechanic at Upper Mississippi Fleeting LLC earning $18.50 an hour. Happy with the challenges in evaluating and diagnosing diesel engines is more rewarding than Colton could have hoped for.

Having a career that offers financial and emotional well-being to our clients is what Proteus strives to provide. Colton is testament to out mission and the positive outcome that can evolve with a little help.

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Halen has a New Career

National Farmworker Jobs Program provides a new future


Alison Mahoney-Doran is a Regional Director in Des Moines, Iowa.

Halen Jacobsen first heard of Proteus in 2017 during a classroom presentation by a case manager when they spoke of the National Farmworker Jobs Program. He was enrolled in diesel tech certificate program at Iowa Western Community College, Council Bluffs. Prior to coming into the program Halen was a seasonal farmworker for Margaret Byrns farm in Strasburg, Colorado.


Support through NFJP allowed Halen to learn welding skills and find a new career.

Halen quickly realized the NFJP was something he was interested in. He wasted no time in getting into contact and providing the appropriate documentation to the Proteus case manager. After consideration the NFJP accepted Halen, he was able to receive assistance to help with items such as textbooks, tools and tuition assistance. Enrolling and being accepted into the program helped lift some of his financial burden and reduce Halen’s student debt, giving him relief.

In July, Halen graduated and earned his certificate as a diesel technician. He was able to complete his education program with the help of Proteus and other support service programs. Having earned his certificate, he will begin working full-time as a diesel mechanic.

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