VR Outreach to Migrant Farmworkers – Factsheet

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Key Facts:

Fact 1:

Migrant workers represent a unique community, and such workers are defined by the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) as a person who travels more than 75 miles between jobs or has traveled more than 75 miles in a 12-month period to secure a farm job.

Fact 2:

75% of farm workers in the United States during fiscal years 2015-2016 were born in Mexico (69%) or Central America (6%).

Fact 3:

77% of farmworkers in the United States identified Spanish as their mother language.

Fact 4:

Spanish-language outreach into migrant communities is essential for VR services to reach those populations, including presence at social gatherings, visits to households, informational brochures in Spanish, notices in local Spanish media, and contact with local clergy.

Fact 5:

A successful example of outreach to migrant communities is the Kentucky Migrant Vocational Rehabilitation Program (KMVRP). Outreach workers distributed VR information to 1,700 migrant farmworkers between 2001 and 2003 in eight counties. Outreach workers referred 105 migrant workers to a patient services coordinator who forwarded consumers to the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Migrant farmworkers carry the additional burden of fear of deportation, creating potential trust issues with completing paperwork.

Recommended Readings:

Breeding, R.R., Harley, D.A., Rogers, J.B., & Crystal, R.M. (2005). The Kentucky Migrant Vocational Rehabilitation Program: A demonstration project for working with Hispanic farm workers. Journal of Rehabilitation, 71(1), 32-41.

Hernandez, T. & Gabbard, S. (2018). Findings from the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS), 2015-2016: A demographic and employment profile of United States farmworkers. JBS International.

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