Originally published in the Northwest Signal, Napoleon, Ohio on Wednesday, July 10, 2013
By Allison Dunn, NWS Staff Writer
LIBERTY CENTER- A local organization which provides services to farmworkers, low-income families and economically depressed communities throughout the state recently recognized several graduates at the Migrant Rest Center in Liberty Center.
PathStone Corp.’s program recognized a total of 47 participants from three programs. Thirty-two individuals celebrated their graduation form the National Farmworker Jobs Program, all of whom have been trained and have retained employment for more than six months. According to Cassie Rickenberg, deputy of grands and programs, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program provides training, education opportunities and resources to enhance skills and employability.
Twelve graduates completed prevention curriculum funded through Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services. Three youth also completed a mentoring program in which they were paired with mentors from Owens Community College, funded by the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and mental Health Services Board.
PathStone’s mission is to build family and individual self-sufficiency by strengthening farmworker, rural and urban communities by promoting social justice through programs and advocacy.
Despite many myths and misconceptions of migrant workers, PathStone only serves those able citizens and eligible non-citizens, PathStone senior vice president for planning and research Jeff Lewis said.
Last month, the Senate passed a version of an immigration reform bill which would bring many more immigrants into the economy. “It’s good for PathStone because it expands the number of people we could serve and it would impact a number of families,” Lewis said.
Although the bill aims to secure the borders, track people overstaying their visas and deny employers the ability to hire workers here illegally, it does not seek to slow down immigration. The U.S. population over the next two decades would be likely to increase by 15 million people above the probable lever if no changes were made to immigration laws, according to the Congressional Budget Office.