Are You Looking for Labor?
Whenever I talk to growers I always ask them what are the biggest challenges they face in their business today.
The top two answers invariably are the weather and finding labor. There’s not a whole lot we can do about the weather, but there are a few options when it comes to hiring.
With a national unemployment rate hovering around 4 percent, the competition from other industries that growers face to find quality labor gets tougher and tougher every year.
Last month, GPN featured an article, Looking for Labor?, where Craig Regelbrugge, senior vice president for industry advocacy and research at AmericanHort, discussed recent developments in the H2A guest worker program and how it might provide a solution to this challenge.
According to Regelbrugge, there are multiple federal departments working on modernizing the H2A program, but “the Labor Department is where most of the action is. Through the rulemaking process, we are likely to see some streamlining and improvement. Some of this will be about the process. Some of it will actually bring rational relief.”
This is good news because over the years, the H2-A program has been clunky and unreliable, so hopefully there are changes ahead that make it easier for growers to participate.
Regelbrugge says growers need to take a close look at the program and make sure that it works for their business. “Figure out what it would take to implement the program. Do some contingency planning in case the worse happens and your company is audited or raided and you lose a large amount of your work force.”
Once you’ve done your homework, then you can figure out how you can take advantage of the program or if you should explore other options.
Labor will be a hot topic at AmericanHort’s Impact Washington event that takes place Sept. 16-19, in Washington D.C. You can learn more about the two-day “advocacy summit” by clicking here.
To read the entire article from the February issue go to gpnmag.com/article/looking-for-labor.
The Home Depot plans to hire 80,000 associates for its busy spring season with a new hiring technology built by the company’s in-house engineers. Approximately 2,000 U.S. stores and more than 100 distribution centers have seasonal, part-time and full-time positions available, and the new technology helps hiring teams move candidates through the hiring process faster. Last spring, the company launched Candidate Self Service, another homegrown technology that allows store and supply chain candidates to schedule their own interviews. Since its launch, nearly 1 million candidates have used the technology. Applicants can visit careers.homedepot.com for the 15-minute application.
Whole Foods’ Kids Foundation to Fund More School Salad Bars
Whole Kids Foundation, a nonprofit that is focused on children’s nutrition and wellness, recently announced that 150 new salad bars will be provided to schools in the U.S. this year. The $500,000 investment will ensure more than 75,000 students will have access to fresh healthy produce at school. Since 2011, Whole Kids Foundation (founded by Whole Foods Market), in partnership with Salad Bars to Schools, has provided nearly 5,500 school salad bars. Salad Bars to Schools is a public-private partnership founded by Whole Foods. Collectively, more than $14.3 million has been invested across all 50 states providing over 2.7 million children with daily access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Affirm, Inc., a financial technology company that provides consumer-friendly payment alternatives to cash and traditional credit, recently announced a partnership with Walmart that will give shoppers the option of using Affirm to pay for their purchases over time at nearly 4,000 supercenters nationwide. Walmart will begin to integrate Affirm as a payment option on Walmart.com over the coming weeks. The Affirm experience at Walmart Supercenters is designed to be transparent, seamless and integrated with a consumer’s typical shopping experience. Customers can check eligibility through www.affirm.com/shop/walmart.