Xcel Energy Grant Funds Unique Class

“I can farm.”  It is the skill I most often hear mentioned in my Job Interview classes.  The majority of these learners come from agricultural backgrounds and thanks to a $7000 grant from Xcel Energy to the Center for New Americans; these learners have been given the opportunity to attend a unique pre-employment class that draws on their background knowledge and farming experience.  Xcel Energy’s grant is part of the company’s corporate giving Economic Sustainability focus area, promoting workforce development, workforce readiness, specific job skills training, job placement and job creation.

(From left to right) Laura Smith-Hill (Education Coordinator at CNA), Carol Hudson (ESL Instructor at CNA), Hari Chhetri (student in English for Gardening Class),  Tim Jurgens (Director of CNA), Pabi Biswa (student in English for Gardening Class) and

(From left to right) Laura Smith-Hill (Education Coordinator at CNA), Carol Hudson (ESL Instructor at CNA), Hari Chhetri (student in English for Gardening Class), Tim Jurgens (Director of CNA), Pabi Biswa (student in English for Gardening Class) and Eric Pauli (Xcel Energy Representative)

Xcel Energy’s grant recently funded “English for Gardening Class,” a pre-employment class that helped refugees learn English skills needed for entry-level jobs in local greenhouses or garden centers

I had the chance to interview some of the learners that attended the class Learners practiced English vocabulary for “annual,” “perennial,” “herb,” “root,” “shelf,” “planter,” and other relevant words for this industry along with gaining hands-on experience.  “It was all very practical,” said one learner through the use of a translator.  “They taught us how to fertilize and water…how to pull up plants properly.”

“Why did you like the class?” I asked.  Many learners cited their previous work experience as farmers in their countries.  One women shared, “In Bhutan, I had a kitchen garden…the same interest was here.”  All agreed the class was helpful and interesting and were looking forward to applying for jobs in local greenhouses or garden centers in and around Sioux Falls.

The Center for New Americans would like to thank Xcel Energy on behalf of our clients for their financial support and partnership in the work of welcoming!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: