SACRAMENTO As California celebrates the life and work of legendary labor leader Cesar Chavez with the 3rd annual “Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning”, the state Employment Development Department (EDD) honors Chavez throughout the year. A major responsibility of EDD is providing year-round services to migrant and seasonal farmworkers, who toil the fields everyday putting food on our tables.
“EDD provides a variety of services to job seekers, including farmworkers and food processing workers, who may be unfamiliar with automated job listings or may have cultural or language barriers that lessen the effectiveness of their job search,” says EDD Director Michael Bernick.
EDD’s services include: access to CalJOBS, an Internet-based job and résumé bank; in-person assistance with bilingual staff; referrals to educational and vocational training; referrals to community resources such as health clinics; information on wages and trends.
Many of these services are offered through local EDD outreach workers, who generally have farming backgrounds and are fluent in Spanish. Working early mornings, evenings and Saturdays, outreach workers contact local farm-workers in their living, working and gathering places to explain the full range of services available to them in the community.
In addition, agricultural employers receive information on EDD services, including: access to CalJOBS; focused recruitment for employers needing a large number of workers; labor market information, including information on crops and labor activities; facilities to screen and interview applicants; and résumé searches to match employer job openings.
“EDD also supports services to farmworkers through grants to La Cooperativa Campesina de California and Farmworker Institute for Education and Leadership Development. These organizations work throughout the state to ensure that farmworkers have the necessary skills and support to thrive in California’s econ-omy,” said Bernick.
Spanish-speaking job seekers in the Fresno area now hear job announcements twice a week during the six o’clock news on Channel 21 thanks to a partnership with the station which is affiliated with the major Spanish-speaking television network Univision. The new program began on March 1 (2003) and features job announcements from CalJOBS and the America’s Workforce Network Toll-Free Help Line (1-877-US 2 JOBS), where job seekers can find their nearest One-Stop Career Center.
Throughout the year, EDD works closely with the agricultural industry, including employers, grower organizations, farm labor contractors, farmworker representatives, chambers of commerce, employer advisory groups, and One-Stop Career Center system partners to help balance the supply of labor in areas with shortages and to resolve issues affecting the state’s agricultural industry.
To find your local EDD office, check the state government section of the telephone directory under “Employment Development Department” or visit the EDD Web site at www.edd.ca.gov.