Murray Advances New Training Center in Yakima to Help Meet Agriculture Labor Needs Year-Round

Jun 21 2007

Center will help train 1,300 farm workers and 800 farmers statewide

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has included funding in a key spending bill help to create a new agricultural vocational institute in Yakima to help meet the need for skilled-farm labor throughout the year.

The funding was approved today by the Senate Appropriations Committee, on which Senator Murray serves.  The $250,000 investment will help create a new "Community Agricultural Vocational Institute" through the Opportunities Industrialization Center of Washington (OIC) in Yakima. The Community Agricultural Vocational Institute will help provide the agricultural industry with a skilled farm worker year-round workforce.

"We have a skilled worker shortage in our state and on our farms, and we need to step up to meet this challenge," said Senator Murray. "This funding will help create a new center of training in Yakima that will train more productive year-round workers, build our agricultural economy, and reduce unemployment. The Opportunities Industrialization Center has proven they can provide workers the skills they need to succeed and I am glad to help get their newest venture off the ground."

Gilberto Alaniz, State Program Director, for Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC), said the new training institute will make a difference.

"This program will enhance support for agriculture employers and help eliminate the shortage of workers by providing more skills to workers and guaranteeing longevity for the industry.  Specifically, this program will provide skills in pesticide training, tractor safety, Commercial Driver's License (CDL) trucker training, forklift certification, and literacy and civics training.  We would like to express our thanks to the Senator for her efforts," Alaniz said.

Now that Murray's funding has passed the committee, it will move to the full Senate floor for consideration.  Senator Murray will continue to use her position in the Senate to help workers access the training they need, while seeking to create the family-wage jobs that strengthen and diversify the local and regional economies of communities across Washington state.