February 2021 Newsletter

Categories: News


Picking Up the Pieces

Short-term & long-term plans come to life



David Hopkins’ story on how Proteus helped him pursue a career in Agriculture Business

David Hopkins first met Dana Cowsert, Indiana case manager at Proteus during the Spring of 2019. At the time David was a first-year at Ivy Tech Community College.

Since his time enrolled as a National Farmworker Jobs Program participant, David has received financial assistance that has been utilized towards his educational career. David transferred to Purdue University to continue his focus on Agriculture Business and was even able to add a minor in Animal Science due to credits transferring over from Ivy Tech Community College.

Although David had always worked with the crop side of agriculture, he realized he had an interest in livestock back during his time in 4-H. This interest turned into a passion for wanting his own business. He sat down to think about what he wanted and what that looked like regarding short-term and long-term plans for himself.

With the help of friends and family, he started building fences and purchasing cattle. He realized he needed to learn all about the cattle business; the care and nutrition, the processing side of the business, and how to develop a customer base.

Not long into his journey as a business owner, David found himself picking up the pieces and debris left behind after a violent storm. Through repairs, minor setbacks, and other changes in his business adventure, David remained positive and thankful for the continued support of friends and family.

As he moves forward and keeps his business going, he thanks Dana and Proteus for being a part of the journey and helping his short-term and long-term plans come to fruition.


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Routines Lead to Success

Proteus case management helps with accountability


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Breson Pillen pursues a career in Construction Management after his time with the U.S. Navy

After leaving the U.S. Navy, Breson Pillen worked with an advisor at the Veterans Affairs. Breson’s advisor recommended the Proteus National Farmworker Jobs Program as an opportunity to work on his career goals.

This is where Breson’s journey with case manager Maria Schinstock began.

He enrolled at Columbus Community College and eventually transferred to the University of Nebraska Lincoln where he is currently studying Construction Management.

Breson deeply valued the case manager work that Maria provided as it helped him stay on track. The routine check-ins and hour-tracking instilled accountability keeping him true to his goals and responsible for his actions.

Part of the service requires weekly sign-ins which can at times be tedious, but Breson took advantage of the weekly sign-ins with his professors as a convenient way for him to introduce himself and build relationships.

Coming from a background in agriculture followed by the U.S. Navy, Breson has new goals set for himself. He hopes to be hired on with Kingery Construction Co. after graduation.

Breson is thankful to be a part of the Proteus National Farmworker Jobs Program, he feels valued and with a team behind him.
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Caring for Others

An ambition to accomplish more



Yosmeli Vega graduates from Hamilton Tech to pursue a career as a Medical Technician

Yosmeli Vega had spent her high school summers in the fields of southeastern Iowa detasseling corn for a few dollars an hour. The funds she earned through this work helped Yosmeli purchase clothes and supplies needed for school. Taking on this type of labor instilled a work ethic in Yosmeli as well as an ambition to accomplish more in her life.

Yosmeli’s guidance counselor at her school in Columbus Junction, Iowa facilitated an introduction between her and a Proteus case manager in hopes of qualifying for the National Farmworker Jobs Program. Yosmeli’s application was quickly processed and soon she was approved for NFJP services.

Working with a Proteus case manager offered valuable insight for Yosmeli as she worked towards her goal of becoming a Medical Technician. Together they worked on the admission application for Hamilton Technical College, located in Davenport, Iowa. Once there, Yosmeli’s case manager made sure she had the right assistance to ensure a successful journey.

While enrolled in her specialty training, Yosmeli earned funds through the classroom stipend service allowing her to remain focused on her education instead of worrying about finances.

Upon completion of the program, Yosmeli was offered a position as a Medical Technician at UnityPoint Hospital near Muscatine, IA. With an increased and steady level of income that included full-time benefits, Yosmeli felt she was on the right track.

As Yosmeli started her work with UnityPoint she could not help but think; she had found a passion within herself and she had brought it to life. Her environment had changed from the hot, wet fields to one where she not only earned a livable wage but found fulfillment in what she did.

Yosmeli truly enjoys caring for her patients each and every day.


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Agricultural Health Team Gets Vaccinated

In-person patient care is welcomed with open waiting rooms


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Alejandro Zarate a Proteus Health Aide and third-year student at Iowa receives COVD-19 vaccine

As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout started making its way across the globe, healthcare personnel were included among those in the first tier to receive vaccinations.

The Proteus Agricultural Health Team continues the journey of being vaccinated so that they can safely serve farmworkers and their families.


Naomi Marroquin, Proteus Health Care Manager receives COVID-19 vaccine

Patients and health care staff have been flexible and understanding throughout the pandemic changes. The innovation amongst healthcare personnel provided options on how patients were seen and tended to. Making sure that everyone received great quality care whether that was through a mobile clinic or a telehealth appointment.

With below zero temperatures making their way across the U.S, the ability to re-open clinic waiting rooms could not have come at a better time. With precautions in place, all three clinics across the state of Iowa have opened their doors to patients for in-person appointments.

Masks continue to be required and social distancing takes place in the lobby as appointments are spaced out to reduce the overlap of multiple patients in the waiting room.
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 2020 Year in Review

Proteus, Inc. looks back at 2020 and highlights accomplishments along the way


As a pandemic was making its way across the globe, the world as we knew it came to a screeching halt. Many employers sent their staff home suited up with the necessities to carry out their work from home. Not everyone had the opportunity to seclude in their homes to stay safe and continue their work.

Essential workers, a term unknown to the pre-pandemic world, are workers that conduct a range of operations and services that are typically essential to continue critical infrastructure operations. Bring in, agriculture workers.

The work of these individuals could not be done remotely. They never stopped showing up for work. Just like many front-line workers, agriculture workers masked up and showed up.

This Year in Review showcases how Proteus served the farmworking community as it always does, but with additional innovative ways. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Proteus staff, board, partners, and all supporters.

Check it out yourself!


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