This weekend on That Michigan Show, we examine Michigan’s migrant worker population and discuss how this segment of the workforce impacts Michigan’s powerhouse agricultural economy.
FIRST - We hear a personal account of life as a migrant worker and then learn about programs that benefit workers and growers.
THEN – We learn how the Telamon Corporation assists migrant workers with locating steady employment, training, and other resources.
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Helen and her family own and operate a fruit farm based in Ottawa and Kent counties where they grow apples and fresh pack asparagus. At her farm they employ over 300 migrant and seasonal farm workers each year.
Outside of working on the farm, Helen is very involved in a variety of groups around the state. She is the Chairwoman of the Agriculture Labor Advisory Committee of the Farm Bureau. She is the representative for migrant farm workers on the Governors’ Talent Investment Board. She is active on the Sparta Area Migrant Resource Council where she organizes a Feeding America food distribution four times each summer targeting the migrant population.
As a former migrant worker, Belén Ledezma understands the long hours and hard work it takes to be in the field and the type of workers our Ag employers need to have a successful season.
Belén Ledezma currently works for the State of Michigan as the Director of Migrant, Immigrant and Seasonal Worker Services Division. The division focuses on referring qualified job seekers to employers. Her team is also in charge of administrating the H-2A and H-2B Visa programs for the State of Michigan.
Liza Estlund Olson
Liza Estlund Olson is the Deputy Director of Direct Talent Strategies for the Workforce Development Agency overseeing the Veterans’ Services Division and the Migrant, Immigrant & Seasonal Workers Division. The Veterans’ Services Division provides intensive services to veterans with barriers to unemployment and works with employers to promote hiring qualified veterans to positions.
She serves as Vice President for the Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame. Liza graduated from Michigan State University’s James Madison College with a degree in Urban Policy.
Don is the State Director for Michigan for the Telamon Corporation.
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