- Arwen Chenery
(SACRAMENTO) –Assemblymembers Steve Bennett (D-Ventura), Robert Rivas (D-Holister) and Senator Monique Limon (D-Santa Barbara), introduced legislation today to establish a state-wide grant program for counties to create farmworker resource centers.
“The Covid pandemic demonstrated how valuable it was to have county employees who have developed trusted relationships with this important community,” said Assemblymember Bennett, “and the agriculture industry and the State of California need farmworkers who feel valued respected and supported. There are so many things for low-income non-native speakers to navigate. The Farmworker Resource program can help them tremendously.”
Senator Limon noted, “I am pleased to join Assemblymember Bennett on this measure to provide farmworkers throughout the state access to a much-needed system of information and resources. Our farmworker community deserves access to trusted sources to help them navigate systems.”
“Farmworkers face a plethora of resource barriers, ranging from cultural to language to different immigration statuses, which may prevent them from accessing much-needed government assistance and information,” said Assemblymember Robert Rivas, who serves as Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee. “And with COVID-19, it is more important than ever that farmworkers know what resources are available to them, which can potentially save their lives. AB 941 will help establish trusted county resource centers for farmworkers and will greatly help this historically underserved population responsible for feeding our state.”
AB 941 is based on a successful Ventura County program that has served over 1,400 farmworkers and their families since opening their doors. In 2017, the County created an advisory group, made up of members of the farmworker community and agriculture industry. And, after the County made an initial investment of $200,000, the center opened in the summer of 2019. Individuals who are fluent in English, Spanish, and Mixteco staff the three offices in Ventura County. County employees communicate with farmworkers and determine their needs. They then provide them with help in navigating government assistance, workplace regulations, and other resources.