FIELD program helps farm workers receive high school diplomas

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A new program is helping provide high school diplomas for residents in rural communities around Kern County.

The program run by the Farm Worker Institute or Education and Leadership Development helps anyone over the age of 18 receive a high school or high school equivalency diploma for free.

For the last several years, FIELD has offered classes to students between the ages of 18 to 25, but new regulations will now allow the program to be opened up to adults of all ages.

“Now the community will have the opportunity to come with us and get that second chance at a high school diploma,” said teacher Mario Nunez.

Nayeli Flores works in the fields at Grimmway Farms. She moved from Mexico City to America when she was young and eventually attended Arvin High but never graduated.

“I’m not saying the fields are a bad job,” Flores said. “I just don’t want to see myself here for the rest of my life, I want a better future for myself and my baby.”

Flores is now attending high school diploma classes through FIELD in hopes of providing her family with better opportunities. Although she work 6 days a week on the field, Flores has to attended classes for four hours Monday through Friday.

“It’s hard, but I know it is worth it,” Flores said.

The new program is the first of its kind here in Kern County.

To date, almost 300 high school deficient young adults have successfully received their high school diplomas and career technical education at different Kern County FIELD campuses in Arvin, Cal City, McFarland, Shafter, Tehachapi, and Wasco.

If you would like more information on classes or FIELD, call the Shafter Learning Center at (661) 746-5160, or the Arvin Learning Center at (661)854-0363.

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