SOURCE: Ag-Mart Produce

Ag-Mart Produce

December 15, 2009 11:19 ET

Ag-Mart Produce Partners With Gloucester County Special Services School District to Provide Adult Education Classes for Workers

CEDARVILLE, NJ--(Marketwire - December 15, 2009) - Ag-Mart Produce, a national tomato grower and shipper, is partnering with the Gloucester County Special Services School District, Migrant Education Program to offer adult education classes to workers at its Cedarville, N.J. packing house. The classes represent the first opportunity for the Spanish-speaking employees to take formal English classes, which consist of writing, reading, and verbal exercises.

"Ag-Mart is excited to partner with the Gloucester County Special Services School District to provide this opportunity for our workers to improve their English skills," said Kevin Delaney, director of sustainability and productivity at Ag-Mart. "The skills they learn through the classes will remain useful to them throughout their lives, and for some it will be a stepping stone for more job opportunities at Ag-Mart or elsewhere."

"The English classes represent a new and exciting collaboration between Ag-Mart and our organization," said Joan Geraci, Director of Special Projects for the Gloucester County Special Services School District. "Ag-Mart has generously provided a space in their Cedarville facility to be used as a classroom to provide English classes for their employees who qualify for educational services through our Migrant Program. This natural collaboration with Ag-Mart is a perfect way to assist young adults with English acquisition while connecting the classroom with real-life experience."

Classes are offered on Tuesday and Thursday mornings before workers begin their jobs at the packing house. Any 18-to-21-year-old worker that moved into the school district's service area to work in agriculture within the last three years is eligible to participate in the classes.

Ag-Mart officials said employees who take the English classes will be considered first when supervisory or management positions become available. The classes are part of Ag-Mart's corporate social responsibility mission, which has a particular focus on improving wellness and education for its workers.

Managers at Ag-Mart have supported the efforts of the classes by implementing an English-only day of the week that encourages employees to use what they learn and advance their skills while communicating with each other at the packing house.

"The classes will make me more comfortable with everyday interactions," said Alejandro Torres, an Ag-Mart employee who is taking the classes. "This opportunity is a fantastic way to learn to communicate with English speakers with items as simple as asking what time it is and how much something costs. Ag-Mart is the first company that I have worked for who provided an opportunity like this."

"The class is particularly special because our teacher, Todd Holtsberry, cares about our future," said Mirel Angel, another Ag-Mart employee taking the classes. "He plays games that make learning fun, which makes it easier to absorb the material. The classes are simply a great opportunity to take me to new places in the future."

Ag-Mart Produce (, based in Plant City, Fla., is a grower and shipper of both organic and conventional tomatoes, specializing mainly in the grape and heirloom varieties. It operates in multiple growing regions, including three in Florida, one in North Carolina and one in New Jersey, in order to maintain year-round availability for its customers. Ag-Mart operates with a focus on food safety and a commitment to continually develop better sustainable growing practices.

Contact Information