Agricultural & Foreign Labor Services February News and Highlights

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February 7, 2024

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Highlights from the 2024 Great Lakes Trades Expo

Expo attendees standing in front of AFLS table speaking with team

The eagerly anticipated 2024 Great Lakes Trade Expo in Grand Rapids brought together businesses, entrepreneurs and industry professionals from across the region. As one of the largest trade shows in the Great Lakes area, it serves as a platform for networking, collaboration and showcasing the latest innovations and products.

Agricultural Employment Liaisons (AELs) Julia Briones, Issac Lopez and Jesus Lule had the opportunity to attend the event and speak with employers about the employment services the Agricultural and Foreign Labor Services (AFLS) team provides to ensure employers have a reliable workforce.

Agricultural machines on display at the 2024 Great Lakes Expo

The Trade Expo offers a unique opportunity for attendees to connect with like-minded individuals who share a passion for business growth and development. The expo also featured an impressive lineup of exhibitors, showcasing their newest products, services and technologies, and attendees had the chance to explore the latest advancements in their respective fields.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth and gave us the opportunity to assess their employment needs. AFLS offers services such as helping employers post jobs, locating workers through the Agricultural Recruitment System, providing technical assistance with completing federal forms, providing interpretation services and many more.

If we missed you, you can learn more about services the AFLS team offers at

Staff Announcements

The Agricultural and Foreign Labor Services Management Team is eagerly preparing to welcome back their seasonal AEL staff in just eight weeks, around mid-March, as they gear up for the 2024 agricultural peak season. We are excited to announce the return of these dedicated AELs in our upcoming newsletter editions in March.

The timing of our seasonal AELs’ return aligns perfectly with the arrival of the agricultural peak season in Michigan, when migrant and seasonal farm workers (MSFWs) require assistance in connecting with agricultural employers, employment services, and referral to other support service agencies. AELs play a vital role in facilitating this process and ensuring farmworkers have access to the resources they need.

We are committed to providing valuable employment services, support, and guidance to MSFWs and we are confident the return of our experienced seasonal AELs will greatly enhance our ability to serve those in need during this upcoming busy season.

Stay tuned for information on the Annual Growers' meetings!

Megaphone graphic

The AES Team has begun planning for their annual Growers meetings. This year they will host two meetings, one in the southwest part of the state and the other in the northwest. These meetings will have presenters providing growers with information from agencies such as USDOL Wage and Hour, Michigan Wage and Hour, Foreign Labor Services, Michigan Works! among other local, state and federal agencies.

The goal this year is to host in-person meetings with a virtual option for those growers unable to attend in person. The AES team will present information about the Agricultural Recruitment System (ARS), Pure Michigan Talent Connect ( and field visits. The AES team is comprised of 16 Agricultural Employment Liaison located at various Michigan Works! Service Centers throughout the state and are available to assist growers post job openings on to locate workers.

A complete list of AELs is available at

AFLS and Telamon help MSFW go back to school

Margarita smiling with laptop in front of her

Telamon, Michigan's National Farmworker Jobs Program partner, reached out to AEL Sandy Jimenez for assistance with programs to help Margarita Morquecho Juarez (pictured right) go back to school.

Sandy was able to use programs through the Michigan Agriculture and Food Systems Workforce Advancement Initiative to dual enroll Margarita in Telamon and Michigan Works! to better serve her needs.

At the time, Margarita had worked at a nursery in Coloma, Michigan for a year but had to leave her job in order to become a full-time caregiver to her mother when she became sick. Margarita, who is also a single mother, then made the difficult decision to go back to school to secure a better future for herself and her family. 

Margarita standing with AEL Sandy in front of Ross sign

After weeks of waiting, and almost three months of working together, all the partners involved have made Margarita’s wish come true. 

“It’s a long process but all worth the wait," said Margarita. "You should never give up!’’

Margarita began her dental assistant program on January 8 and is expected to graduate this coming September. The final six weeks of her program will even include an externship where Margarita will get hands-on exposure to what it’s like to work as a dental assistant.


The Agricultural Recruitment System can help employers fill their talent needs

The Agricultural Recruitment System (ARS) helps agricultural employers recruit qualified workers on a temporary or seasonal basis from other states from within a state and from other states when there is an anticipated shortage of workers. The ARS provides protection to workers who are not seeking permanent relocation, but rather temporary agricultural employment.

Agricultural Recruitment System graphic

The ARS is available to employers at no cost and is an easy three-step process:

  • Step 1: Local Recruitment
  • Step 2: Intra-State Recruitment
  • Step 3: Inter-State Recruitment

If you are an employer seeking assistance in using the ARS, visit your local Michigan Works! Service Center to get started. Find the nearest location at or call Michigan's ARS telephone line at (855) 633-2373.

Workforce Development programs to help employers train their employees

LEO-Agricultural and Foreign Labor Services partners with Michigan Works! Service Centers across the state to promote a variety of programs that farmers can leverage in meeting labor needs, providing training for employees, and assisting with other retention and business growth strategies.

over the shoulder view of two people in a small shop looking at laptop

Going PRO Talent Fund

The Going PRO Talent Fund makes awards to employers to assist in training, developing, and retaining current and newly hired employees. Training funded by the Going PRO Talent Fund must be short-term and fill a demonstrated talent need experienced by the employer and lead to a credential for a skill that is transferable and recognized by the industry.

Michigan Works! West Central was recently awarded $500,000 from the Going PRO Talent Fund to help two local food processors in Oceana County – Michigan Freeze Pack and OPC Arbre Farms LLC, and one in Newaygo County – Nestle-Gerber Products. 

Learn more about the Going PRO Talent Fund, including how to apply for the upcoming awards cycle, at

Registered Apprenticeship Michigan logo-header

Registered Apprenticeship

Registered Apprenticeships in Michigan are programs that combine on-the-job training and classroom instruction for various occupations. Registered Apprenticeship gives you an opportunity to turn dedicated, energized, custom-trained apprentices into your future workforce. These workers will bringing new, fresh ideas and energy to your organization.

The flexibility for an employer to design an apprenticeship program offers a consistent way to recruit, train and retain talent. Apprentices learn in the workplace, train with the employer’s protocols, regulations, business practices and equipment. This allows you to create an employee pool that will contribute to your bottom line and meet your future workforce needs.

Learn more about Registered Apprenticeships at

Explore full-time and seasonal jobs job listings on the homepage

Michigan has thousands of jobs throughout the state in a variety of industries, including many full-time jobs with benefits in the Food and Agricultural Industry, as well as in the Agri-business sector.

We encourage you to visit Pure Michigan Talent Connect ( and search for your next full-time job today!

Or, if you are looking for seasonal or temporary work in the agriculture field, go to

Updates from the Office of Foreign Labor Services

FY 2024 H-2B second quarter update

As of January 9, 2024, the United States Citizenship, and Immigration Services has received enough petitions to reach the additional 20,716 H-2B visas made available for returning workers for the first half of Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 with start dates on or before March 31, 2024, under the FY 2024 H-2B supplemental visa temporary final rule. The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor jointly published a temporary final rule increasing the cap on H-2B nonimmigrant visas by up to 64,716 additional visas for FY 2024.

The temporary increase in H-2B non-immigrant visas for FY 2024 will provide relief to U.S. businesses that are suffering irreparable harm or will suffer impending irreparable harm without the ability to employ all the H-2B workers requested in their petition.

To date, Michigan has received a total of 510 job orders with an estimated 6,000 workers needed. Grand Traverse, Mackinaw, Oakland and Macomb counties are where most of the needs are identified. The most common job occupations applied for are within the hospitality and landscaping industries with housekeeper, landscape/groundskeeper, cooks and food service workers rounding up the most utilized occupations.

The Office of Foreign Labor Services has completed the FY24, Quarter 2 H-2B Job order review successfully. Michigan employers will now proceed to the federal level of review.

Additional Resources:

USDOL Wage and Hour Division 2024 Prevailing Wage Seminars

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division will offer compliance seminars for contracting agencies, contractors, unions, workers and other stakeholders on the requirements for paying prevailing wages on federally funded construction and service contracts.

Part of the division’s effort to increase awareness and improve compliance, each day-long seminar will include sessions on the Davis-Bacon Act, Service Contract Act and other related topics. Participants can choose among the sessions offered throughout the day.

The seminars are scheduled on Feb. 27, May 15 and Aug. 29.

Registration is required to attend the free seminar. Additional information will be provided to participants after registration. Register for the webinars here.

For more information on the Davis-Bacon Act, the Service Contract Act, and other federal wage laws, please call the division’s toll-free helpline at 1-866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).

Updates From the State Monitor Advocate 

Michigan continues to deliver quality workforce services to the thousands of farmworkers who contribute to the state’s second largest industry – agriculture. According to Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, there is sufficient temporary migrant farmworker housing for nearly 30,000 workers and their families throughout the state. In addition, it’s estimated there are 30,000 other seasonal farmworkers engaged in farm work but live in the state on year-round basis. Many of Michigan’s farmworkers work from sunup to sundown during peak harvest times, April to October.

Per a recent communication from the National Monitor Advocate office, Michigan has met all eight required Equity Ratio Indicators (ERIs). From October 1, 2022, to September 30, 2023, 4,290 of the 4,660 MSFWs registered by AELs and Michigan Works! staff, were provided workforce services at a higher rate or equal to those provided to non-MSFWs.

This a notable accomplishment as few states have met all eight ERIs. Thank you to both teams on behalf of the thousands of MSFWs you assist to become successful by getting higher paying jobs, education and job training through workforce services.

The table below shows through the end of the second quarter of the current program year. The state has achieved meeting all eight Equity Ratio Indicators in the one-year period. 

Equity Ratio Indicators table showing percentages for each indicator

Columns from left: Received Basic Career Services, Received Individual Career Services, Received Staff Assisted Career Guidance Services, Received Staff Assisted Job Search Activities, Received Unemployment Insurance Claim Assistance, Referred to Employment, Referred to Federal Training, Referred to Other Federal or State Assistance.

Agricultural & Foreign Labor Services
Workforce Development

Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity