March 2019 Newsletter

Categories: News


Staying in the Field

New degree allows Mary to pursue her career in agriculture


Patrick Taggart

Patrick Taggart is a Regional Director in Iowa.

Working toward her goal to attend college, Mary Sackreiter worked on a beef farm near Riceville, Iowa. Her duties were primarily working with the calving operation, earning $10 an hour. Her experience confirmed her interest in pursuing a career in agriculture and she enrolled at Northern Iowa Community College in Calmar, Iowa. While attending classes for her agricultural business major, Mary encountered financial struggles. She worked when she could, traveling back to Riceville, but she was having difficulty balancing work and student life.

Mary visited with Proteus staff at the campus dairy barn and was excited to hear what the National Farmworker Jobs Program offered. After she was accepted, Mary was overjoyed to receive a stipend for the class hours she attended. This financial support allowed her to stay near school and focus on her studies. With the stress of making ends meet alleviated, Mary’s grades improved and graduation came earlier than she anticipated.

Mary Sackreiter

Mary recently graduated with an agricultural degree and has a new career.

Once graduated, it was time for Mary to apply her knowledge and begin a new career. Working with her case manager, Mary created her resume and received assistance in determining what companies best suited Mary’s career goals. Not long after submitting applications to a selected number of employers, Mary was offered a position at Seneca Foods in Rochester, Minnesota. Here, she oversees the planting, growing and harvesting of a variety of vegetable field plants and doing what makes her happy. At Seneca Foods, Mary earns $13 an hour and enjoys the pay increase as well as the consistent work schedule.

When Mary exited from services, she thanked Proteus for the services she received. Her heartfelt gratitude is appreciated and is a token to the positive effect the NFJP has on its clientèle.

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New Career Brings out the Best

Ana represents diversity in her work


Jesusa Rivera

Jesusa Rivera is a Case Manager in Indiana.

Ana Isordia came to the Proteus office asking how to upgrade her skills with job training and advance in a career. Her first statement was, “I don’t want to be poor any more. I want to make money, lots of it!” After several meetings with Proteus Case Manager Jesusa Rivera, Ana enrolled at Ivy Tech and earned her associates degree as an electrical technician. She interviewed with an Indiana electrical company and was offered an entry level position making $14.00 an hour.

After 10 months of work experience, Ana decided she wanted more and applied for the electrical engineer’s position. She was promoted a few weeks later. Ana relies on her critical thinking skills to design and formulate new residential and commercial electrical facilities. Her job is to anticipate the need for electrical power and to make sure structures are safe and sustainable for customers. During power outages, Ana works as a first responder. When weather disrupts lives with power outages, she is one of the first on the scene, working her way through downed trees, debris and electrical poles. Ana smiles when she looks at her finished work and says to herself, “I did that.”

With her degree and experience, Ana has her sights on becoming a senior engineer.

Ana wants to continue to grow with the company, refining her skills and learning all there is to know about her job. She is focused on the senior engineer position and with another five to 10 years of hard work, she’ll get there.

Making close to $50,000 a year now, Ana is a long way from her previous wage of $5,000 a year picking and cleaning tomatoes.

“One last thing,” she says. “I love being a representation for Latinos and women. In this field there is not a lot of diversity. My company is trying to bring diversity, but not a lot of people with my background apply for this type of career. I recently won an award for going above and beyond, helping my coworkers and customers translate. We have a big number of Latino customers but I am the only one involved in customer service in the Indiana and Michigan area who is bilingual.”

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Increasing the Care

Three new clinics have been established in eastern Iowa


Patrick Taggart

Patrick Taggart is a Regional Director in Iowa.

In the past, the winter months have been relatively quiet in the Iowa City region. After the rigorous schedule of offering health care clinics from May to October, some may argue that the winter season provides a welcome break. But, that isn’t the viewpoint of Proteus.

By spending countless hours in outreach and conducting clinics in new areas, Proteus staff has been able to provide migrant and seasonal farmworkers healthcare so they can maintain a lifestyle absent of pain and apprehension. Reaching into the northeast part of the state, Proteus has established two monthly clinics for seasonal farmworkers who have few options for their healthcare needs. Mirroring this model, another clinic has been set up in southern Iowa in the hopes of scheduling it on a regular basis.

Conesville ClinicBeing able to adapt to the ever-changing work schedules of our migrant workers, Proteus has been ready to provide health services when needed. Adding clinics in Postville, Guttenberg and Washington has benefitted many. The return of workers has become increasingly earlier the past few years and with that change, Proteus is poised to continue to provide healthcare services for in eastern Iowa.

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Meet Francisco

Proteus youth program participant


Dana Cowsert

Dana Cowsert is a Case Manager in Indiana.

Francisco Santamaria’s good work ethic, determination and the assistance from the National Farmworkers Jobs Program are making his dreams come true.

Last summer, Francisco worked in the tomato fields in Galveston, Indiana. When Proteus Case Manager, Dana Cowsert met with Mr. Plank, the grower, he said that Francisco was a hard worker and that he didn’t want to see him leave before harvest was over, but he knew that it was important that Francisco attend to school.

Francisco S 1

Francisco Santamaria’s dreams are coming true.

Francisco is a senior at Logansport High School where he is on the soccer team. He is also in the work-based learning program, allowing him to attend classes in the morning and work in the afternoon. Being part of the work-based learning program allows Francisco to experience different positions and responsibilities at McDonalds while earning money. He has a work-based plan to learn better communication skills, teamwork, time management and how to work in a fast paced environment. Francisco recently reached out Proteus Case Manager Dana Cowsert because he was concerned about his vision.

After contacting several community partners, an eye exam was scheduled and it was determined that Francisco needed glasses. Thanks to Dr. Brown and the National Farmworker Jobs Program, Francisco now has eye glasses and he is working on training and career plans. After graduation, Francisco plans to work in construction and eventually own his own construction business.

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Coalition Fights Trafficking

Proteus is a partner in the program


Kimberly Fonseca

Kimberly Fonseca is a Case Manager in Nebraska.

In Nebraska, the Grand Island Area Coalition on Trafficking was formed to help increase awareness and educate the community on human trafficking. Each year, Proteus staff works with hundreds of migrant farmworkers across the state of Nebraska. Being aware of this issue is important to the relationships that are established with the many clients who come to the state. Agricultural workers are especially vulnerable to sex and labor trafficking and because Interstate 80 extends across the entire state, Nebraska is at greater risk.

In addition to focusing on sex trafficking, the coalition is focused on labor trafficking. This is an area in which Proteus can provide help. In September 2018, Proteus Case Manager Kimberly Fonseca joined GI-ACT. As a member of the coalition, Proteus will collaborate with community partners to conduct training, inform and educate the community on human trafficking and how to identify the signs to lessen the prevalence of human trafficking.

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Welcome Nebraska Case Manager

Yanni Arengo joins team



Yanni is a Case Manager in Nebraksa.

Proteus welcomes Yanni Arengo to the Lincoln, Nebraska office. She graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln with a degree advertising and public relations. While attending UNL Yanni was a part of the Jacht Club, which is a student run advertising agency. She was also a mentor for first year students for the Susan Thompson Learning Community.

Yanni’s previous employment experience included investigating cases and file reports in the compliance department for a life insurance servicer. The Nebraska team is excited for her to join our team.

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