In May 2017, the Agriculture, Water, and Environmental Technologies Program (AWET), in collaboration with the San Benito County Workforce Development Office, implemented the Agricultural Workforce Development Survey. The goal of the survey was to identify the skills gaps that agricultural businesses need to address to improve their competitiveness.
In San Benito County, a total of sixty agricultural businesses including farms, ranches, and food-processing facilities of different sizes shared their needs regarding workforce development as well as their current activities targeting to it. As its shown in the table below, in total, these businesses provide 3,089 full-time jobs and 3,092 seasonal jobs annually.
Members of the Workforce Development Board, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Business Council joined the AWET team to discuss the results and plan the following steps towards agricultural workforce development. David Esmaili, AWET Director, explained that each county has specific needs and the goal of AWET is to bring more education based on those needs. Survey results for San Benito identified skills gaps in food safety, human resources, data management and analysis, and water systems management.
Enrique Arreola, Deputy Director for the San Benito County Community Services & Workforce Development Office, has been leading this initiative locally, making sure this survey is representative and inclusive of our agricultural sector. As he stated, it is important to take into consideration not only the size of businesses but also the type of service they provide. As he also noted, the training needs of large food processing facility differ from those of small farms and ranches.
We would like to thank all companies that participated in the survey.
San Benito County Workforce Development Board & AWET Program