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e. 5. A. Providing the Full Range of Employment and Training Services to the Agricultural Community, Both Farmworkers and Agricultural Employers, Through the One-stop Delivery System. This Includes:

  • i. How career and training services required under WIOA Title I will be provided to MSFWs through the one-stop centers

  • ii. How the State serves agricultural employers and how it intends to improve such services

Current Narrative:

Providing career and training services to MSFWs

The Idaho Department of Labor, its AJCs, and mobile locations provide the full range of ES benefits and protections, including the full range of job counseling, testing, and job and training referral services to MSFWs. The agency continues to expand services to agricultural workers and employers by coordinating basic labor exchange services, outreach, information dissemination, and training workshops with other One Stop partner agencies, organizations and the employer community. Working relationships exist with the Community Council of Idaho, Idaho Legal Aid Services, Inc., and various agricultural producer organizations to provide services and information. AJC and mobile office staff are fully informed of the services available to farmworkers in their areas, including short-term training programs, ESL classes, etc. Once in an AJC or mobile location, staff thoroughly assess the skills, strengths, and needs of farmworkers who register with the system, and make appropriate referrals to jobs and training opportunities. With this information, farmworkers may make informed employment decisions and have meaningful access to all the services that are available through the state’s One Stop network.

With the recent transition of WIOA service providers, the state looks to maintain a sustained level of service to MSFWs visiting AJCs across Idaho in search of appropriate workforce services. Aware of this change, state outreach workers make active referrals to the new provider, Equus Workforce Solutions, which has ensured the state and the Workforce Development Council that it has the capacity to serve all those in need of service, regardless of any potential language limitation a visitor, including MSFWs, may have. 

Services Provided to Farmworkers and Agricultural Employers

Agricultural-related job listings have increased over the years, primarily due to the rapidly increasing demand for foreign workers through the Foreign Labor Certification programs, initiated through the Agricultural Clearance Order process. As noted earlier, this activity has increased significantly in the state over the past several years. Many of the employers utilizing this program are members of the Snake River Farmers’ Association (SRFA), Western Range Association (WRA) and Mountain Plains Agricultural Services (MPAS), which act as a recruitment agency for Idaho agricultural employers. The state’s H-2A activity for FY 2020 shows a slight decrease in applications over the previous year, with 699 applications recorded for the recent FY, and 715 in PY19. However there were more than 4,664 positions listed in FY20, a 4.2 increase over the previous year.  The program is currently on track to match or exceed the previous year’s activity. As more H-2A applications are submitted, and more positions requested to be filled by foreign labor, the placement of domestic agricultural workers has unfortunately declined over time.

Basic labor exchange services are provided to the agricultural employer community through the automated process of matching job seekers to job orders received as well as recruitment and direct referral from staff. IDOL continues to provide information about ES services and assist agricultural employers through direct employer visits and outreach to grower organizations, county extension offices, and through special presentations and seminars to agricultural employers, farm labor contractors, and local employer committees. Information may be provided through radio and TV, or other media in conjunction with other agencies and organizations involved with the agricultural employer community. These efforts are coordinated with other outreach efforts that are developed as part of the respective area’s One Stop system.

To identify agricultural employers in labor needs, the department reviews prior year job orders and request input from grower organizations and local employer committees. Direct outreach activities, specialized surveys and other labor market information available through IDOL and One Stop system will also be used to identify agricultural employer needs. Information from other agencies or organizations that represent or serve the agricultural community will also be solicited to identify areas of needed services.

IDOL will continue to expand services to agricultural workers and employers by coordinating basic labor exchange services, outreach, information dissemination, and training workshops with other One Stop partner agencies, organizations and the employer community. As noted earlier, IDOL’s extensive working relationships help to ensure an information exchange on available services. To reduce the impact on domestic workers, the department continues its coordination with the NFJP grantee and other partners to identify pools of available and eligible workers who may take advantage of the agricultural listings throughout the state.

The state’s approach to enhanced business services takes a regional focus to serving employers, targeting activities such as outreach, one-on-one meetings with select employers to learn their workforce needs, office team discussions and strategy session on how best to respond to identified employer needs. Enhanced collaboration is channeled through the state’s AJCs and mobile locations, which direct the coordination of workforce needs with education, economic development and workforce partners across the state. All of which leads to a streamlined service delivery which is logged through the state’s IdahoWorks management information system, which provides automated business services tracking and information management to all AJCs and mobile locations.