EDD awards $7 million to La Cooperativa Campesina de California to aid farmworkers at Prima Wawona


NR No. 24-03
Contact: Loree Levy/Aubrey Henry

SACRAMENTO – The Employment Development Department (EDD) announced today that it has awarded $7 million to La Cooperativa Campesina de California (La Cooperativa), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping California’s farmworkers achieve lasting prosperity and self-sufficiency through education, training, placement, and other supportive services. La Cooperativa will use grant funds to provide outreach, and employment and training services to farmworkers affected at Prima Wawona, and other agricultural workers laid off throughout the State.

“California is home to one of the largest populations of farmworkers in the country – a population which regularly faces extensive barriers to finding new jobs once they are out of work.” said EDD Director Nancy Farias. “Ensuring that our farmworkers have access to the support and training they need to secure sustainable jobs is not just an investment in these workers, but an investment in our local economies.” 

La Cooperativa will focus its outreach to farmworkers recently laid off from several employers including Prima Wawona, TriMas, Campbell Soup Supply, Premium Services, Kern Vineyards, Silgan Containers, Pak ‘N Save, Foster Farms, Mariani Nut Company, and Kings Garden Inc., among others.

California’s 900,000 farmworkers are regularly at risk of minor displacements due to seasonal hiring cycles and industry demand. Recent, major fluctuations within the agriculture industry have presented new, unprecedented challenges. For example, climate change-driven natural disasters, including drought, flooding, and wildfires have affected the agriculture industry along with the loss of agricultural land to other industries.

Through a network of local partnerships in 36 counties, La Cooperativa will use grant funds to address common reemployment barriers and equip participants with the tools, support, and skills they need to secure new jobs in high-demand occupations. Substantial outreach efforts will utilize Spanish language media and on-the-ground engagement to reach farmworkers in their communities.

Services provided to participants will include client-centered assessments, remedial education, vocational skills training, hands-on training, pre-apprenticeship training, on-the-job training, work experience, and career pathway counseling. Additionally, wrap-around services will be offered to address employment barriers including access to food, housing, utilities, medical, clothing, work tools, and transportation.

Funding for this grant was provided through discretionary funds made available to Governor Gavin Newsom in accordance with the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and administered by the EDD and the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency.

For more information about La Cooperativa and its services, contact Marco Lizarraga, Executive Director, at 1-916-388-2220.