December 12, 2023
The California Statewide Communities Development Corporation (CSCDC) has provided $12,000,000 of New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation to Farmworkers Institute of Education & Leadership Development (FIELD) for development of its new Career Training Center in Bakersfield, California.
FIELD is a nonprofit organization founded in 1978 by Cesar Chavez to create economic opportunities and self-sufficiency for farmworkers and the rural workforce in California. To meets its mission,
To meets its mission, FIELD provides educational and workforce development programs that include:
- EPIC de Cesar Chavez Charter High School (EPIC). EPIC is an accredited and State-funded charter school that provides adults across the state (18+ years old) with access to high school education and career technical education. EPIC has 20 campuses across California and has served over 130,000 adults, the majority of whom are English learners and/or underserved individuals.
- Career Technical Pathways. For EPIC students that receive or are working on their high school diploma, FIELD offers eight career technical education pathways that provide participants with employable skills in growing industries.
- Cesar Chavez Environmental Corps (CCEC). CCEC is FIELD’s State-certified local conservation corps, providing young adults (ages 18-26) with paid work experience in recycling and natural resource careers. Corpsmembers are employed by FIELD directly and perform environment-related work to address climate conditions and hazards across California. Participating youth are often from troubled backgrounds, with many aging out of the foster system.
- English as a Second Language (ESL). FIELD has provided free ESL classes to adult English learners since 2000, serving up to 6,000 adults annually.
The NMTC financing will support FIELD’s rehabilitation of an 11.2-acre site in Bakersfield to serve as FIELD’s new headquarters, and a comprehensive Career Technical Education (CTE) campus for adults participating in FIELD’s programs. FIELD provides CTE in industry sectors that are growing, and that offer living wages, benefits, and career advancement. Current CTE programs include recycling, construction, firefighting, agriculture, early childhood education, natural resources, business, and solar installation. The site will serve as FIELD’s central CTE campus, allowing the organization to grow the number of programs offered and the number of people served.
The campus includes warehouses and training spaces to support FIELD’s CTE programs, including a Solar Lab and a Recycling Center, along with an Early Childhood Education Center, and classroom space for ESL classes. These programs allow for training in wildland firefighting, and the recycling of CRV, tires and E-waste. A portion of the campus will include dormitory style rooms for up to 30 Cesar Chavez Environmental Corpsmembers, and the renovated commercial kitchen will house agricultural fruits and vegetables for FIELD’s upcoming Culinary program.
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