The National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP) is a United States Department of Labor (DOL) founded and directed program that provides job training and employment assistance to migrant and seasonal farmworkers (MSFW’s). It is authorized by Congress in Section 167 of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) to address the chronic unemployment and underemployment experienced by MSFW’s who primarily depend on jobs in agriculture. Since its inception with the passage of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, the NFJP has been an integral part of the national workforce strategy. MSFW’s now access the NFJP and other employment assistance through the One-Stop Center Network of the workforce investment system. Arkansas Human Development Corporation (AHDC) is funded by the DOL to coordinate and facilitate NFJP services in Arkansas.
The goal of the NFJP is to assist MSFW’s and their families to attain greater economic stability by helping them acquire new job skills in occupations that offer higher wages and a more stable employment outlook. AHDC coordinates needed training through community and technical colleges and a host of private training organizations around the state. The NFJP also provides supportive services that help farmworkers remain in and stabilize their employment in agriculture. A state-wide network of vendors provides housing, medical, emergency, nutritional and childcare assistance on a reimbursement basis. AHDC also facilitates the coordination of services through the One-Stop Career Center system for MSFW’s so they can access other services available through the workforce system.
The NFJP serves eligible migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their dependents. Eligible farmworkers are those who primarily depend on employment in agricultural labor that is characterized by chronic unemployment and underemployment. To be eligible for participation in the NFJP a person must meet the following criteria:
- Be a citizen of the United States or legally authorized to work in the United States
- Performed agricultural labor in an occupation recognized by the United States Department of Labor
- Earned at least 50% of his/her income from recognized agricultural labor during any consecutive 12-month period out of the most recent 24 months. Minimum earnings must total at least $800.00 or the applicant must have worked at least 25 days in a recognized occupation during the eligibility period.
- Earned less than poverty guidelines based on size of family
- Registered with Selective Service if a male born on or after January 1, 1960
Core Services – include skills assessments, job search, eligibility determination and access for MSFW’s to the other core services of the local One-Stop Career Center.
Intensive Services – include objective assessment, basic education and employment development planning achieved through a case management based individual service strategy.
Training Services – include occupational skills and job training, which also encompass on-the-job training.
Related Assistance Services (Support Services) – include short-term direct assistance to address an urgent or life threatening matter enable farmworkers and their dependent family members to retain their agricultural employment or to participate in Intensive or Training Service activities. The costs may be borne by grant funding when local community resources are not available.
Approximately $1,100,000.00 is available annually to provide outlined services.