Texas International Produce Association Teams with the Equitable Food Initiative to Host a Labor Workshop
MISSION, TX - Later this month, the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA) will host two workshops at its headquarters, each of which will hone in on overcoming labor challenges that are prevalent in the industry. TIPA members as well as members from the Texas Vegetable Association, Texas Citrus Mutual, and South Texas Onion Committee, will have access to these free courses on September 24.
According to a press release, the first workshop will take place from 9–11 a.m., with a goal to help Texan growers successfully navigate the H-2A program and fill labor shortages. Growers are turning to the H-2A program to obtain seasonal workers, but there are a lot of details to consider. The course will help attendees learn the basics about the program, how to ensure compliance, avoid common pitfalls, and types of training that create seamless staffing transitions.
“We’re excited to bring in these expert speakers who can help our growers learn to maximize the H-2A program, fill labor shortages, and help both our growers and importers to better understand the importance of workforce development programs in preventing food safety issues while improving overall quality,” stated Dante Galeazzi, President and CEO.
Event speakers include Joe Martinez, Executive Director at CIERTO Global and Norma Encinas, H-2A Program Director at CIERTO Global. CIERTO is a certified farm labor contractor that recruits, trains, and places experienced agricultural workers from Mexico in farms in the United States with the mission of creating a professional agricultural workforce that is skilled, certified, and brings added value to the food supply chain.
Joe Martinez works with growers on “clean” recruitment which ensures brand integrity and continuity of supply. Martinez has worked closely with NGOs, the U.S., and foreign governments to address issues related to farmworker recruitment.
Norma Encinas has worked in the H2-A program for 10 years, successfully processing and delivering more than 10,000 workers to numerous companies throughout the U.S.
The second workshop, geared towards both domestic and international grower-shippers and importers, will be held from 1–3 p.m. The goal of this workshop is to showcase how workforce development drives social responsibility and bottom-line results. This includes understanding ties between organizational culture, worker engagement, productive workforce, and food safety. Attendees will learn about resources to help comply with the Ethical Charter on Responsible Labor Practices.
Speakers at the second workshop include Kevin Boyle, Director of Business and New Product Development at Equitable Food Initiative (EFI), and Kenton Harmer, Director of Certification and Impact at EFI. EFI offers solutions for the most pressing problems in the fresh produce industry. Its label is a sign of assurance that growers, farmworkers, and retailers have collaborated to create a culture of continuous improvement that engages everyone in the supply chain, raising the standards for food safety, farmworker communications, and production.
Kevin Boyle has decades of experience working with large corporations and governments to address major changes within industry supply chains, ensuring their ability to continue as high-performing organizations and quality workplaces.
Kenton Harmer directs the multi-stakeholder process that results in the standards, policies, and relationships that allow EFI to certify fresh produce under industry best practices.
Industry members who wish to attend the workshops may register online.