“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.
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!