Training Farmworkers for the Exploding Wind Energy Industry

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Event Will Feature Tours and Discussions by Education and Training Experts Developing Programs for Farmworkers in Sustainable Green Jobs

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Attendees will hear from education and training experts on how to create valuable partnerships and tailor training programs to meet an underserved population’s needs.

Today the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP) announced it will be holding a ground-breaking conference on training farmworkers for the exploding wind energy industry. The two-day event will feature tours of wind energy projects at Amarillo College and Western Texas College and visits to training classes. Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from Dr. Gabriela Lemus, Director of the Office of Public Engagement for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL); local government officials, including Amarillo Mayor Debra McCartt; program creators; wind industry employers; and successful trainees.

“Recently we began to see a dramatic increase of wind farms in our area of the Panhandle,” said Irene Favila, the Workforce Development Coordinator at Motivation, Education & Training, Inc. (MET) in Plainview, TX, who spearheaded the creation of this wind energy training program for migrant and seasonal farmworkers. “We realized this is an industry that will continue to grow and demand qualified workers: workers like our clients.”

MET, a non-profit AFOP member agency, developed and implemented this creative new training program in response to the emergence of new jobs created by the wind energy boom in the panhandle. MET staff researched other programs for jobs in the wind energy sector and partnered with Amarillo College to craft a condensed version of their current one- and two-year wind energy programs, highlighting what employers really needed. The curriculum has since been shared by Amarillo College with Texas State Technical College in Sweetwater and Clarendon Junior College.

“This event is a great opportunity for organizations and communities to learn about successful strategies used to overcome logistical, language, and education barriers,” said David Strauss, Executive Director of AFOP. “Attendees will hear from education and training experts on how to create valuable partnerships and tailor training programs to meet an underserved population’s needs.”

The event will also include information on future plans by these organizations and institutions to continue developing programs for farmworkers in promising and sustainable green jobs.

The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs is a non-profit, national federation of 52 non-profit and public agencies that provide training and employment services to migrant and seasonal farmworkers. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for all farmworkers and their families through advocacy, education, and training. For additional comment or an interview, please contact Ayrianne Parks at 202.828-6006 ext. 140 or Parks(at)AFOP(dot)org

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