Now in its third year, the Latino Agriculture Education Program, designed for vineyard field workers, has developed into a successful educational program.
Enrollment for each session is now at about 25 students, up from a dozen in each of the first two years. Students meet at the Grandview campus of Yakima Valley Community College for a full day of classes every Friday, from mid-November through March. The courses cover basic viticulture, including plant physiology, cell formation, and soil and water management, as well as some math, English language, and civics.
Latino Agriculture Education Program Director Leo Garcia said he hopes to expand the program in the
same direction as its model, the Hispanic Orchard Employee Education Program. That course takes tree fruit workers through as many as four levels—introductory, advanced horticulture, integrated pest management, and farm management.
In the meantime, Garcia called demand for the program very strong. At 25 students, the classes are at maximum capacity. Expanding the program to enroll more students would mean finding more qualified instructors. He and another instructor commute to Grandview from Wenatchee Valley College to teach the program. They deliver the material simultaneously in English and Spanish, working toward almost all English by the end of the term.
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