AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Labor has announced that the Bureau of Employment Services has named Jorge Acero to the position of state monitor advocate for migrant and seasonal farmworkers.
“The state monitor advocate ensures that migrant and seasonal farmworkers are afforded equal access to employment services,” said Commissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette, in a press release. “I welcome Jorge back to the department, and I encourage agricultural employers to reach out to him. Migrant and foreign workers play a vital role in harvesting crops, like wild blueberries and broccoli, that are important to Maine’s economy.”
As part of his new duties, Acero will conduct field checks in the agriculture industry and assist migrant and seasonal farmworkers with issues relating to wages, housing and discrimination. Most recently, he served as state director of the Migrant Education Program with the Maine Department of Education.
Prior to that position, Acero worked for several years in the Department of Labor, beginning in the Portland CareerCenter as the first bilingual Spanish/English consultant. There he conducted outreach to the Latino community, collaborated with service providers and conducted field visits to nearby farms where MSFWs were working. Most recently, Acero oversaw the Foreign Labor Certification program, ensuring compliance with federal regulations.
Acero’s nine years with the Department of Labor afforded him the opportunity to build a strong network with not only state and federal agencies, but also the groups that assist MSFWs, the employers who hire them and the workers themselves. In addition to his monitor advocate duties, Jorge will continue to oversee the Foreign Labor Certification-related activities and the Job Service Complaint System.
Acero was born in Colombia, South America, and immigrated with his mother to the United States more than fifty years ago, settling in the San Francisco Bay area of California, where he grew up. Jorge received an Associate’s Degree in Agricultural Production from Shasta College in California, a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Arizona in Tucson in Cultural Anthropology, and a Master’s Degree in Latin American Studies from New York University.
“While attending the U of A in Tucson, studying cultural anthropology – I crossed into Sonora, Mexico with faculty to conduct research and met families that migrated regularly. It is here where I found the appreciation for the hard life of migrant workers – one that I continue to hold with utmost respect,” Acero stated in the press release. “I’m pleased to have this opportunity to continue serving the migrant community.”
Acero began his new position on March 17. More information about the state monitor advocate is available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/labor_laws/maine_monitor_advocate.html . Information about the Foreign Labor Certification program is available at http://www.maine.gov/labor/careerctr/services-programs/hiring/foreign/index.shtml .