PathStone receives nearly $9.4 million for career training and housing assistance to migrant and seasonal farmworkers

Rochester, NY (July 1, 2011) On Wednesday, the US Department of Labor announced $83,941,360 in grants through the National Farmworker Jobs Program to combat the chronic unemployment and underemployment experienced by migrant and seasonal farmworkers who depend primarily on agricultural labor jobs. Rochester-based non profit, PathStone Corporation, received more than $8.4 million to provide training, employment and support services to farmworkers and their families in New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico and Vermont. PathStone received an additional $895,064 to provide temporary and permanent housing assistance to farmworkers.

The National Farmworker Jobs Program helps eligible workers improve their agricultural job skills, and train for careers in emerging industries and occupations that offer higher wages and more stable employment.  PathStone has been providing training and employment services to farmworkers in New York State for more than forty years.

“Through this investment by the US Congress, several hundred farmworker families are able to receive the support necessary to dramatically improve their earning power, become financially self-sufficient, and be proud and productive members of their community,” said PathStone President & CEO, Stuart J. Mitchell. “Since it was founded in 1969, PathStone Corporation has assisted thousands of hard-working farmworkers who plant and harvest the fruit and vegetables we enjoy each day.”

“Agricultural workers face significant barriers to stable employment, and all too often it is their families who pay the price,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “These grants address this reality by not only helping workers improve and expand their job skills, but also by providing housing and other crucial support services.”

The National Farmworker Jobs Program is authorized by Congress in Section 167 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, and grants are allocated through a formula that estimates the number of eligible workers in each state or territory. The grants cover a two-year period but are funded on an annual basis.  The awards announced this week are for July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012.  Second year allocations will be dependent on the funds available through the fiscal year 2012 appropriations process and on grantees’ compliance with all current and future departmental guidance.

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