Seasonal and migratory agricultural workers are essential to the U.S. agricultural industry. They help feed the country by working long hours planting and harvesting crops, caring for livestock, and laboring in meat and poultry processing plants. They also enrich communities through diverse life experiences, cultures, and languages.
While seasonal and migratory agricultural workers are crucial to putting food on the tables of all Americans, they also represent some of the most economically disadvantaged people in the United States. Throughout history, they have faced challenges in wages, health, working conditions, housing and education. Children of agricultural workers also face tremendous obstacles in completing high school and pursuing higher education. Frequent moves and educational disruptions contribute to both a high drop-out rate and low rate of college attendance.
Since 1972, federally-funded College Assistance Migrant Programs (CAMPs) have helped children of agricultural workers pursue higher levels of education and secure jobs that contribute to the economic well-being of their families and communities. Heartland CAMP is one of over 50 similar projects across the country that annually serve approximately 2,400 students during their first year of college.
CAMP projects are proven effective in supporting first-year college success and retention rates for children of agricultural workers. The most recent data show that 88.2% of all CAMP participants successfully completed their first year of college, and 96.6%of those first-year completers continued on to their second year in college.