University of Vermont

VMEP

Providing academic, social and cultural support services to all eligible students

Vermont Migrant Education Program

Identification and Recruitment

Recruitment in Vermont is especially challenging since migrant families are moving in one of the most rural areas of the nation. In order to successfully accomplish our mission, to find every migrant child in the state and enroll them into our program, we rely heavily on the cooperation and support of others. Therefore, one of the most important aspects of recruitment for the Vermont Migrant Education Program is to build strong relationships throughout our state so that individuals and agencies will make active referrals to our program.

Aside from getting our program's name out, the recruiter's three primary functions are to locate, interview, and enroll eligible families for the Migrant Education Program. Since the client population is by nature transient and not highly visible, recruiters need a certain amount of persistence to get the job done.

We like to call recruitment staff the “face of the program” because recruiters are the very first staff members to visit migrant families in the state. Recruiters must be responsive to a wide variety of conditions. Some visits may require no action while others may call for an immediate referral to other staff or agencies. Not only is it challenging to locate families but with our changing population of farm laborers we now have cultural and language barriers. That is why we are happy to say that all recruitment staff members are bi-lingual in the English and Spanish languages.

Identifying families

Each recruitment specialist is assigned to a specific region of the state and is responsible for locating families, determining their eligibility status, and submitting necessary documentation prior to student enrollment in the program.

Prior to the new school year and throughout October, recruiters spend their time visiting each and every school in their region. Local schools are the primary source of referrals to the Vermont Migrant Education Program. Any time a new student enrolls into their new school we ask that the "Agricultural Employment Survey" (available in both English and Spanish) be distributed along with the school's other required new student enrollment forms. When completed by the family, this form is returned to the school and then to the Identification and Recruitment Office for review. It is with this information that we can help identify who is moving around the state and working in agriculture. If the family checks off that they are working in the agricultural field, it is our cue to contact the family and see if they are eligible for our educational services.

During early spring and throughout the summer, recruiters can be found making farm visits. This is the time of year when many migrant families and workers move on to new jobs. These regular visits to farms helps lead recruiters to new students. Not only is it important for recruiters to know their regions "like the back of their hand," but to meet and befriend the farming community is equally important. These relationships bring some of the most consistent and straightforward referrals. When a farmer knows about the Vermont Migrant Education Program and informs a recruiter it is a sure sign that our efforts are working.

When all the farms have been visited and each school in the state is up to date with current forms and information for the school year, there is always time to visit the many social service agencies in the region. Agencies like the Farmworkers Program, Women Infants Children (WIC), PATH offices, Central Vermont Community Action Councils (CVCAC), Adult Basic Education Agencies are all on the list of agencies the recruiters regularly visit. There is also an entire network of drop-in centers, foodshelves, grain and feed dealers, laundromats, and general stores where it never hurts to post an informational ad with a local number to call for service.

Last modified June 14 2013 03:08 PM