New Program Helping Colorado Farmworkers

Originally aired on KKTV – February 11, 2021

There’s a new federal grant program happening here in Colorado that’s giving struggling farmworkers and the economy a boost.

There’s a major shortage of health workers in the US because of the pandemic. Meanwhile, there are a lot of farmers in Colorado who are struggling to make ends meet in the year round farm economy.

Enter The National Farmworkers Jobs Program–it’s a federal grant that seeks to meet both needs by training qualified, low income farmers to transition into healthcare and other kinds of jobs.

“So what our goal is is to help those seasonal farmworkers, that live locally, who are wanting to get out of agriculture and maybe find some other kind of employment,” said Direct of Rocky Mountain SER, the group that won the federal grant in Colorado, Leon Ortega. “We train them for different types of jobs–nursing assistants, medical assistants, dental assistants, truck drivers.”

The participants have to be migrant farmworkers who are legally documented to work and live in the United States.

Much of the training is being in partnership with MedCerts, a national online training program.

“Our programs are three to six months, includes everything from ebooks to physical books, the online simulations and activities, practice exams and exams,” said MedCerts National Director of Workforce Development Sandy Mead.

The partnership between Rocky Mountain SER and MedCerts began last June and runs until this July, at which point the labor department reviews the data and the success of the programs in order to renew it. But there are already farmers in the program who are becoming part of these critical other work sectors.

To learn more about MedCerts, visit medcerts.com

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