American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers



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Reaching Teen Farm Workers with Health and Safety Information: An Evaluation of a High School ESL Curriculum

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 14(2): 147-162. (doi: 10.13031/2013.24348) @2008
Authors:   S. Teran, R. Strochlic, D. Bush, R. Baker, J. Meyers
Keywords:   Adolescent worker, Agriculture, ESL curriculum, Farm worker, Latino, Occupational health

While childhood agricultural injury has long been recognized as an important public health issue, most research has focused on family farms and there have not been many interventions targeting hired youth. This study evaluated the impact of a high school English as a Second Language (ESL) curriculum, designed to provide teen agricultural workers with the knowledge and tools to protect their health and safety in the fields. Using a quasi-experimental design, the research consisted of two intervention groups and a comparison group, and included over 2,000 students from communities that lead California in agricultural production. The research findings revealed that the curriculum had significant impact in terms of increases in knowledge and attitudes, and nearly half of those interviewed after a summer of working in the fields reported implementing new behaviors to protect their health and safety. The curriculum also had extended effects in the broader community, as the majority of students reported sharing the new information with others. The study found that a school-based ESL curriculum is an effective intervention to reach and educate teen farm workers and that ESL classes can serve as a much-needed access point for young farm workers.