To promote fair, greater and better Social, Economic, Educational and Employment Opportunities for all residents in our communities.
In 1969, the United State Office of Economic Opportunity granted the Rural Development Corporation in Los Angeles a $400,000 grant for the development of a program that would consist of two components: a Tuition Assistance Program for the farm worker students attending college; and a Basic Education program for adult farm workers.
In May of 1971, several meetings were held in targeted communities to elect representatives from each community to sit on the Rural Development Corporation advisory council. By July of 1971, the advisory council met to formulate the Articles of Incorporation and By-laws. Thus, the new agency (Campesinos Unidos, Inc.) was incorporated under the California State laws on the 11th day of August, 1971.
On January 1, 1972, under mutual agreement between Campesinos Unidos, Inc., Rural Development Corporation and the Office of Economic Opportunity, an all funds Interest Agreement was signed; thus, Campesinos Unidos, Inc. was born as an independent agency.
Campesinos Unidos, Inc. (CUI) was incorporated as a private non-profit corporation under section 501 c (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. CUI was incorporated to specifically promote greater social, economic, educational, and employment training opportunities for farm workers and other economically disadvantaged residents of the Imperial, Riverside and San Diego counties.
In June 1989, CUI became Imperial County’s designated Community Action Agency by the California Department of Economic Opportunity. A tripartite Board of Directors has governed the agency since then. The board is made up of one-third (1/3) Public Representatives; 1/3 Poor or Disadvantaged Representatives; and 1/3 Representatives of business, labor, religious, education, or other interest groups in the community.
Since its incorporation, CUI has acted as both a prime sponsor and subcontractor of numerous Federal, State and Local entitlement programs (Head Start, Child Development, Self-Help Housing, LIHEAP, and Employment-Training projects) serving its three-county area of operation: Imperial, Riverside and San Diego counties.
We partner with the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) to provide assistance to families/individuals that are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. This collaboration allows us to help pay past due rent or utilities, and provide emergency food. We also partner with the Imperial Valley Food Bank, to provide USDA Commodities distribution in two sites and provide families/individuals with access to healthy food. By helping alleviate these immediate needs, we also gain the opportunity to offer additional emergency and social service support to improve socio-economic status and overall wellness of low-income families/individuals in Imperial County.
Utility Assistance and Weatherization Programs
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded program that assists low-income households with utility assistance programs and weatherization services designed to reduce heating and cooling costs and improve the energy efficiency of a home, while safeguarding the health and safety of the household. These services are available throughout Imperial and San Diego Counties. There are two separate utility assistance programs available. The determination as to which program an applicant will utilize will be determined based on the applicant’s circumstances. The dollar amount awarded is the same for either program.
HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program)
HEAP assists clients who are in need of help in paying their electric or gas bill. Clients determine which bill they will be assisted with. The amount of assistance is based on household income and size. Clients supply information that will be used to determine an established benefit amount which will appear as a credit on the clients’ bill. If the bill is included in the clients rent, the client receives a check in the benefit amount. HEAP may pay for a portion of the energy bill in the form of a dual or single party warrant or a direct payment to a utility company.
ECIP or F/T (Energy Crisis Intervention Program or Fast Track)
ECIP F\T assists clients who are in crisis of having their electric or gas service disconnected or that their electric or gas has been disconnected. Clients whose utilities are included in their rent DO NOT qualify for ECIP/FT. ECIP/FT pledges are called into the appropriate utility company indicating an application has been processed with the pledge amount to postpone or stop the pending loss of service. If the service is already disconnected utility company will be notified of clients pledge amount in order to have their services re-connected.
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Magnolia-native Ray Navarez and his family call Houston’s east end home. Raised in a single-parent household, Ray watched his immigrant mother struggle to find employment – working odd jobs and long hours to provide for the family.
With no father figure at home, Ray often looked to his uncle for guidance. As a child, Ray’s uncle would tell him “a man’s job is to be able to confront any problem and never stay [still] with his hands crossed…” – a mantra that still guides him today.
Around the age of 24, Ray found himself in a bad situation and eventually, prison. After being released, Ray was determined to make his family proud.
“I was going to a school in the medical center to become a surgical technician,” said Ray. “Right when it was time for me to do my clinical rotations, I told [the school] my situation and they told me I couldn’t have anything on my record… I was one of the top students there…[so] that was disappointing.”
After leaving the program, Ray was discouraged.
“I had a felony and was having trouble [finding] work,” said Ray. “I didn’t know where I was going in my life.”
After a friend showed Ray an article about SER helping ex-offenders find employment, the two decided to check it out.
“I did the evaluation [at SER] and scored high in the math portion. [My SER career coach] said I would be a better fit for the Workforce Solutions CNC Machining program at Alvin Community College, since it involved more math,” said Ray. “I went through the CNC program but [due to miscommunication] I was transferred into the Houston Community College Welding program.”
“I started the welding program at the HCC campus southeast, near Gulfgate. It was a lot closer and convenient,” said Ray. “I caught on really quickly.”
With some support from the SER team, Ray was unstoppable.
“Once I completed the program, I just went for it,” said Ray. “I looked around at places that were hiring, got a job, and boosted my resume with experience. I started off working at little shops here and there just to get the experience. Now here I am, working at a chemical plant.”
Now 31, Ray is working for CB&I near Lake Charles, Louisiana on a LNG project (liquefied natural gas), where the company disseminates natural gas, liquefies it, and ships it to Japan.
“I’ve been here since March [of 2017]. This is my first out-of-town job. I am used to always having work surrounding me… but last year was a slow year in the industry,” said Ray. “It’s difficult being away from home, but I just deal with it.”
Homesickness is a small price to pay for the pride Ray (and his family) now experience.
“I became who my mother wanted me to be,” said Ray. “Something stuck that she instilled in me. I would hate that she emigrated from Mexico and that she sacrificed to give me a better life, [if] all of it [was for nothing]… it makes me feel good that I became who she sacrificed for me to be.”
After nearly 6 years as a welder, Ray is looking toward the future.
“I think the next thing I want to do is to get my certification to be a welding inspector,” said Ray. “That’s more money and less work…that’s my goal in life.”
Ray’s years in the field provided him with valuable insights and perspective to share with up-and-coming SER students and welders.
“For the guys coming out of the welding course, you will hear a lot about the money and how much you can make as a welder,” said Ray. “That’s all fine and dandy, but like anything, you have to go through ropes. [At first], I wasn’t making as near what I am making now. I had to work jobs and shifts [that I disliked] that weren’t paying enough, but I gained experience.”
For Ray, determination and hard work have been just as important as training.
“That [determination] led me to the plants and refineries that I’ve worked in,” said Ray. “Some of us aren’t fortunate to have connections to get us in, [so] we have to find our own way.”
“Sometimes it’s an illusion or let down when you get out of the welding school….it’s a matter of having the determination that you want to accomplish what you set yourself out to accomplish. There will be a few bumps in the way, but you have to continue to push – continue to put in work.”
Despite the challenges Ray encountered along the way, he continued to live by his uncle’s mantra, and with SER’s help, has made a bright future for himself and his family.
“Welding gave me a platform, but SER is who got me there…I am very appreciative of the opportunity given to me,” said Ray. “It changed my life for the better.”
At SER Jobs For Progress, Inc. of San Joaquin Valley, we strive to help our community members throughout California acquire affordable housing and comprehensive management services. Our goal is to help better the community by giving people the boost they need during hard times. Our team dedicates their time to assisting individuals and families in need of support throughout the rental acquisition process.
Our rental properties are located across Fresno and beyond to give families, young professionals and retirees plenty of location choices. We keep the rentals in optimal condition by performing routine maintenance and emergency repairs as needed. Our residents can contact us anytime with questions, concerns and comments. Our commitment to remaining responsive to our residents ensures everyone always feels valued and supported throughout their rental market journey.
Beyond our quality rentals and management services, we have many support programs available to members of our diverse California communities. We welcome prospective and current clients to contact us today to learn more.
To provide individuals the opportunity to become self-sustaining, obtain a quality education, employment and training opportunities, childcare, affordable housing and other services that may benefit the community as a whole. To develop specific employment and training projects, educational programs including technology, develop affordable housing, childcare programs and create other services so that the individuals for whom this program is intended can reap the full measure of benefits to be derived there from.
DETROIT, Michigan – SER Metro-Detroit, Jobs for Progress, Inc. was awarded a $9,000 education grant from AT&T to provide youth ages 16 years old and older with the opportunity to advance in their education.
SER YouthBuild Learning Academy serves to provide learners with the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to become successful citizens of a global society. SER Youthbuild Learning Academy is structured for students to participate in academic instruction in the classroom with a virtual learning experience. Students participate in a vocational track specifically in the building trades. Students also earn stipends and transportation incentives during the school year and have the option to participate in a work experience with one of SER’s employer partners.
Since 2008, SER Youthbuild Learning Academy formerly (SER Learning Academy) has served as an alternative high school for youth aged 16-21 years old. In addition, SER has maintained a YouthBuild program funded by the department of labor for the last 10 years. The merger of the two programs leads to a unique school that is tailored to the needs of each student. The school is open to any eligible Metro Detroit youth.
AT&T is dedicated to supporting its local communities. AT&T wants to raise high school graduation rates and believes in preparing students for college and careers through their education initiatives. To date, AT&T has committed $400 million to programs that support education. Today, AT&T is a leader in diversity. They’re a diversity partner and a committed member of the communities we serve.
SER Metro-Detroit has a long-standing partnership with AT&T to help provide services that promote financial stability and education in and around our community. AT&T’s investment in our organization will allow us to expand our reach and improve the quality of life for City of Detroit youth.
SER-Jobs for Progress Florida is one of Florida’s leading providers of workforce development services.
Founded in 1978 in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, the organization’s area of service has stretched from Lake Okeechobee to the Florida Keys, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Everglades.
The organization primarily offers outsourcing services to state and local governments.
SER-Jobs for Progress is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enabling individuals and families to become self-sufficient through education, workforce development and employ.
When the nation began to experience the current mortgage crisis, it became evident that SER’s participants were being affected. So, with the guidance and financial backing of our long-time partner Esperanza USA, SER began offering housing assistance programs. Esperanza, which in Spanish means Hope, is a national faith-based organization headquartered in Philadelphia.
SER Florida annually serves over 150 families facing the loss of their homes.