New Hispanic Workforce Relations Course Offered At OSU

June 1, 2007 - 08:00

Effective communication between employer and employee can be challenging, especially within agricultural-based industries where Hispanic migrant workers dominate the labor force. Many owners have little knowledge of the language and culture, which is why The Ohio State University’s (OSU) Department of Horticulture & Crop Science is offering a new course this fall to educate students on the cultural, historical and legal aspects of workplace relations in such industries as dairy, nursery and greenhouse, landscape and vegetable production.

“In my experience in working with owners and managers of various agricultural industries, they have little knowledge of the language and culture of Hispanic migrant workers, and hence, they have problems in communicating or developing a fluid relationship with that workforce. The consequence is that many jobs are not done or not done properly, and that diminishes efficiency and productivity,” said Claudio Pasian, the OSU extension horticulturist who will be teaching the course. “I thought it would be a good idea to present information on Hispanics to students who will be working alongside migrant workers, either as a co-worker or as a supervisor.”

“The Latino Workforce in Land-based Industries” will be offered autumn quarter on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00 to 5:48 p.m. The undergraduate course is designed to provide an overview of issues faced by migrant workers in agriculture: who they are, where they come from, the challenges they face and why they are coming to the United States to find work. “If students have a good sense of such information, then they may feel more confident in working with Hispanic workers and start off on the right foot with a successful working relationship,” said Pasian.

Course objectives include demographic information, communication, geography, social aspects, history and culture, Hispanic customs, foods of Mexico, supervising a Latino workforce, an overview of modern agriculture in Mexico and Central America, migrant and seasonal farm workers in Ohio, work visas and what employers should know about legal issues. The course will also include guest speakers from other OSU departments, Ohio industries and Mexican organizations.

Contact Claudio Pasian at (614) 292-9941 or pasian.1@osu.edu for more information.

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