St. Helena – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-04) announced that $500,000 is being provided to Napa County through the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). The grant program provides funding to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and support specialty crop growers through marketing, education, and research.
“Our region has a strong tradition of agriculture made possible by the farmworkers who work every day to grow world-class products,” said Thompson. “The funding from the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant Program will help to recruit and retain farmworkers and provide current farmworkers with the training and education they need to build a successful career in the fields and beyond. I look forward to seeing how this funding helps to strengthen our agricultural community.”
The project in Napa County will introduce and recruit young and beginning farmers, as well as members of socially disadvantaged and underrepresented groups, including women and veterans, to the variety of specialty crop career opportunities. It also creates and implements workforce training programs to develop and maintain the technical skills required to keep the California specialty crops sector competitive.
The project will address these priorities by, 1) introducing and attracting a new young workforce to winegrape careers through Fields of Opportunity, a youth mentorship program on Napa farms and a new year-round apprenticeship program, and 2) developing the technical skills of Napa’s current workforce to increase expertise and retention through workforce training through a conference on leadership and management training and bilingual train-the-trainer workshops for Napa farmworkers who speak Spanish.