Farm Workers Get Call From U.S. Employers

Farm Workers Get CallEmployers from the Great Lakes Agricultural Labor Services (GLALS) in Michigan are looking to recruit Jamaicans to work on their cherry and apple farms.

A two-member delegation from the organization visited the island recently for discussions with officials in the Ministry of Labor and Social Security to explore opportunities for Jamaican farm workers.

Manager at GLALS, Bob Boehm, said there is huge demand for workers on GLALS farms. He said the entity is looking at Jamaicans because of the “positive feedback received on Jamaican workers”.

Boehm was speaking during a courtesy call on the Minister, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, at his North Street offices in Kingston.

The GLALS representative said his company is also “intrigued” by the liaison services the ministry provides, which will assist in addressing the needs of both employers and workers.

Dr. Ferguson welcomed the employers and assured them that the ministry is “ready for business”.

“I pledge full support for this (initiative) and the staff here will work fully from our end to make a partnership work,” he said.

He noted that due to yearly recruitment activities, the ministry has a pool of pre-screened workers from which the employers can choose.

During the three-day visit, the employers toured the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) and met with farming groups in Portland.

They also had discussions with staff at the Ministry’s Overseas Employment Services Centre.

The state of Michigan is the largest producer of cherry and the third largest of apples in the United States.

Last year, GLALS recruited 400 farm workers from Mexico. However, with the high demand for workers, they are looking to expand their recruitment to other countries.

GLALS’ parent company, Michigan Farm Bureau, is the state’s largest general farm organization.

Yvad Billings Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan

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