Money will help establish center's first-ever formal training program for staff and volunteers
PCUNs Farmworker Service Center received a $10,000 grant from the Oregon Community Foundation last year, which the Woodburn-based nonprofit and farmworkers union plans to use to strengthen services and develop a formal orientation and training program.
Jaime Arredondo, secretary-treasurer for PCUN (Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United), said that though the Farmworker Service Center has been providing accredited immigration law services to its clients for over 30 years, it has never had a formal training program for its employees, volunteers or interns.
They have some pieces, but not something comprehensive, he said.
The center provides a variety of services to PCUN members, including legal representation for a number of different immigration matters, referral services, verbal and written translations, public notary services and a death benefit.
These services are vital because they provide an entry point to better economic and health stability for Oregons most vulnerable workforce, Arredondo said.
Arredondo said the center already serves well over 1,000 people each year, and the demand is expected to keep growing, especially if there is an extension of immigration relief or reform in the future.
(That) would put the FSC in a challenging place to meet the demand, he said. We need to be able to scale up quicker. The training program would allow the FSC to do this.
The Willamette Valley Law Project was the centers fiscal sponsor for the grant, since PCUN is a 501(c)(5) nonprofit, and a 501(c)(3) was needed to apply for these particular grants.
The award was part of 22 grants the OCF handed out in November 2015, totaling more than $443,000, to northern Willamette Valley nonprofits. The foundation awarded a total of over $8.4 million statewide.
For more information about PCUN and the Farmworker Service Center, visit www.pcun.org/pcun-service-center. For full lists of grants awarded around the state and more information about OCF initiatives, visit www.oregoncf.org.