New State Investments Help Farmworkers Gain Skills and Career Opportunities

California supporting agricultural workers through training and education

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: California is investing in our farmworkers with new funding for career advancement and technical education.

SACRAMENTO – The State of California recently announced several new investments aimed at helping farmworkers upskill within the evolving industry, as well as find new career opportunities outside of the agriculture sector. This funding is part of a larger strategy by the Labor & Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) and Newsom Administration to expand the number of agricultural workers with the education necessary to enter higher training programs, increase access to existing and emerging high-paying jobs in the agriculture industry, and improve job quality and wages.

Recent investments include:

  • $9 million from the Employment Development Department to 11 organizations to research, design, and implement projects to train farmworkers with the essential skills they need to pursue career pathways with upward mobility and higher wages. An additional $1 million from The James Irvine Foundation, as part of a public-private partnership, will allow awarded organizations to train undocumented workers.
  • $10 million in funding available from the Employment Training Panel as part of an Agriculture Initiative to serve businesses and workers in the agriculture sectors, including food packing, food processing, irrigation and fishing. This funding will help employers train farmworkers to gain new skills and career opportunities.
  • $7 million to La Cooperativa Campesina de California (La Cooperativa) to provide outreach, and employment and training services to farmworkers affected at Prima Wawona, and other agricultural workers laid off throughout the State. 

WHY IT MATTERS: California’s 900,000 farmworkers face disruptions and systemic barriers to employment. As the agriculture industry continues to evolve, there will be both opportunities and challenges for the workforce. Through education, training and other supportive services, these state investments will empower farmworkers to advance in their agricultural jobs or obtain employment in new industries.

What California Labor Secretary Stewart Knox said: “Investing in upskilling and reskilling benefits workers and employers alike. Workers enhance their knowledge and skills, and employers can fill needed roles in a rapidly-changing farm labor market. LWDA is proud to invest in farmworkers’ upward mobility through these new workforce training and educational programs.”

What Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture said: “These programs are key to attracting, supporting and providing high-quality jobs and leadership opportunities for a diverse agricultural workforce. We greatly appreciate this funding to help agriculture’s next generation accelerate innovation to solve problems and build opportunities, and also to help upskill the current workforce.”