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e. 4. B. Providing technical assistance to outreach staff. Technical assistance must include trainings, conferences, additional resources, and increased collaboration with other organizations on topics such as one-stop center services (i.e. availability of referrals to training, supportive services, and career services, as well as specific employment opportunities), the Employment Service and Employment-Related Law Complaint System (“Complaint System” described at 20 CFR 658 Subpart E), information on the other organizations serving MSFWs in the area, and a basic summary of farmworker rights, including their rights with respect to the terms and conditions of employment.

Current Narrative:

A primary resource available to all outreach workers is the MSFW page in the department’s internal employee website, “EPIC”, which provides all the information needed for all department staff who work with MSFWs. It includes Spanish language materials addressing One-Stop services, local contacts for groups serving MSFWs, as well as basic material outlining the rights MSFW are entitled to.

The State Monitor Advocate assists the department by providing training and technical assistance to One Stop Staff, especially dedicated MSFW outreach personnel, concerning the MSFW special service requirements and best practices, much of it on a one-on-one basis. The topics presented during trainings include outreach practices, labor law updates, H-2A/Foreign Labor Certification, the Employment Service Complaint System, and labor market information. During PY20, the Monitor Advocate conducted two statewide MSFW services trainings and one complaint system training via virtual means to AJC staff throughout Idaho.

The State Monitor Advocate also provides training and technical assistance to AJC staff during the review visits to significant offices, and as needed and/or requested by office managers. Due to the pandemic, this was not possible during the last PY. However, the Monitor Advocate has prioritized providing one-on-one training and technical assistance to newly hired outreach personnel. The Monitor Advocate has continued to make this practice a priority during subsequent years and will resume with the onboarding of new outreach staff. As new outreach staff onboard, individualized technical assistance continues as a program mainstay, especially in these times plagued by the pandemic. As COVID subsides, in-person training and technical assistance presentations may resume as necessary

To bolster the one-on-one training and technical assistance, the State Monitor Advocate has also organized an annual, statewide MSFW/H2A training conference over the years.  In addition to IDOL staff, a significant number of staff from the state’s National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP), the Community Council of Idaho, also participate in the training.  Multiple Idaho state Department of Education staff, along with local school district employees, and other community service programs, such as Idaho Legal Aid, have also attended this two-day event over the last several years.  However, because of the COVID pandemic, this event did not take place in the spring of 2021. It is hoped that the event may resume once the impact of the Corona virus has subsided.

These conferences, usually held in March, have been considered very successful. Participant feedback has shown that these conferences are an efficient tool for training staff, allowing for the sharing of new techniques and approaches on providing MSFW services, and strengthening partnerships with other state and federal agencies and local organizations serving farmworkers. Past presenters have included district directors from each of USDOL’s Wage & Hour and EEOC divisions, an agricultural economist from the University of Idaho, as well as state program staff addressing services and systems such as the complaints process.