Literacy and Leadership - Exciting New Project
Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a training for ranch foreman and supervisors at Driscoll's in Santa Maria. This training was not only for Driscoll's employees, but for the employees from area berry ranches and growers. The entire training was in Spanish, which I don't speak or understand. Despite my lack of Spanish literacy, I was able to follow along while human resource rules, conflict resolution strategies and other management issues were discussed.
Driscoll's, a family owned distributor of berries, is a leader in the industry when it comes to improving the lives and families of farm workers through education and through philanthropic endeavors.
My reason for attending is that I am consulting with Driscoll's to bring a workplace literacy component into their training and professional development. This work is through a partnership with Central Coast Literacy Council.
Driscoll's and other agricultural businesses in California are working diligently to attract more workers as the industry is facing unprecedented labor shortages due to aging of laborers, increased immigration laws and challenges, a new generation who want to work outside of agriculture and the growth of ag industry jobs in Mexico.
Based on the projections in scarcity of labor for this growing and harvesting season, I can only wonder what the ramifications will be at the grocery check out. The farms are able to grow our food, but what if it can't get picked and processed? Like any trade, the harvesting of our food requires skills and talents that can't be easily taught or learned. Many ranches have generations of workers. People who grew up in this industry and are well trained.