Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20210






April 15, 1992




April 30, 1992











for Regional Management




Agricultural Recruitment System (ARS)


  1. Purpose. 

    1. To clarify and reaffirm program direction and support for the Employment Service's agricultural services efforts.

    2. To announce the findings of a National Agricultural Clearance Work Group.

    3. To announce the publication of technical, informational and promotional material on the ARS.

    4. To initiate action to systematically provide ARS training to Regional and SESA staff.

    5. To delineate responsibilities for the direction, promotion, operation and evaluation of the ARS.

  2. Reference. Wagner-Peyser Act, as amended, and 20 CFR Part 653.

  3. Background. Farm placement activities have been a regular part of Employment Service (ES) activities since the enactment of the Wagner-Peyser Act. State Employment Security Agencies (SESAs) have traditionally provided placement and related services to both farm employers and agricultural workers. However, various problems with the Department of Labor and ES farm placement activities eventually resulted in litigation filed against the Department of Labor (DOL) in 1972 (NAACP, Western Region v. Marshall, Civil Action No. 2010-72, U.S.D.C.). Final settlement with the plaintiffs in the litigation, more commonly referred to as the Judge Richey Court Order, was not reached until 1980 with the publication of Federal regulations at 29 CFR Part 42 and 20 CFR Parts 651, 653 and 658.

    Federal regulations at 20 CFR 653, Subpart F, were part of the settlement agreement with the plaintiffs. These regulations provide procedures for the acceptance and handling of intra and interstate job recruitment orders for workers to perform agricultural and food processing jobs on less than a year round basis. These procedures call for specific assurances by employers on agricultural recruitment orders to protect workers who are seeking temporary agricultural employment.

    Despite the many changes made to improve the intra and interstate agricultural recruitment program, usage of the system by migrants and agricultural employers decreased during the 1980s. Consequently, a National Work Group was established by DOL to review, evaluate and recommend improvements to the agricultural recruitment efforts of the Employment Service. The Work Group, which is comprised of Federal and State staff with extensive experience in agricultural employment matters, has completed its evaluation.

  4. The Agricultural Recruitment System (ARS). The Work Group has developed a suggested uniform system that would improve services to both agricultural employers and workers. One significant recommendation by the Work Group was to cease utilizing the term "clearance" and to identify or describe the system as the "Agricultural Recruitment System." The Work Group found that the term "clearance" misrepresents the process among the general public. Consequently, material pertaining to the agricultural clearance system will utilize the term "Agricultural Recruitment System."

    The revised system developed by the Work Group, is intended to serve as a recruitment and referral tool for the Employment Service in the intrastate and interstate employment of agricultural workers. The ARS provides both employers and workers with recruitment and referral services for temporary employment in agriculture.

  5. Work Group Findings. Key findings of the National Agricultural Clearance System Work Group are:

    1. The ARS is being underutilized and could provide substantially more support to employers and workers. Through National, Regional, State, and Local Office emphasis on ARS, ES services to agricultural employers and workers will be enhanced.

    2. Modified procedures are needed to improve ARS efficiency and effectiveness.

    3. Increased ARS information should be provided to employers and workers along with thorough training to SESA and Regional staff.

    4. Monitoring and evaluation of ARS activities is needed on a continuing basis.

    5. Clear and realistic goals should be established for the marketing and promotion of ARS activities and there should be regular monitoring to assess progress in achieving these goals.

  6. Program Direction. The following guidelines have been designed to place renewed emphasis upon the ARS, thereby improving service and support to agricultural and food processing employers and to temporary workers:

    1. The ARS is a basic component of the National labor exchange system created by the Wagner-Peyser Act which provides needed services to workers located in the U.S. and to agricultural and food processing employers. The ARS:

      • serves employers by locating, screening, and referring qualified workers from other areas when qualified workers are not available.

      • serves workers by referring them to suitable job openings elsewhere.

    2. SESAs should systematically inform appropriate workers and employers about the ARS and the services it provides. (Informational and promotional materials have been developed to help SESAs carry out this task.)

    3. The procedures contained in the Technical Handbook: Agricultural Recruitment System shall be fully and promptly implemented.

    4. Every effort should be made to share information and to coordinate activities among supply and demand States to provide the most timely, efficient and effective service to employers and workers. A team approach involving representatives from several organizational levels (including enforcement and educational agencies) may be appropriate.

  7. Roles and Responsibilities. A suggested model of roles and responsibilities for the direction, operation and evaluation of the ARS is as follows:

    1. State Central Office Responsibilities.  The State central office provides leadership and coordination to ARS activities within the State. More specifically, the State central office:

      • Provides ARS training to State and local office staff.

      • Develops guidelines, procedures, and reporting requirements for local office operational needs.

      • Coordinates with the Governor's Job Training Coordinating Council, agricultural employers, MSFW organizations, JTPA Sec. 402 grantees and other interested agricultural groups regarding ARS activities.

      • Sets goals for ARS activities, in consultation with local offices.

      • Monitors and evaluates ARS activities within the State.

      • Helps local offices inform employers and workers about the ARS and promotes its use.

      • Provides technical assistance to the local offices on the implementation of the ARS.

      • Assists local offices in the recruitment of qualified workers before utilizing the ARS.

      Each State agency should designate an individual or unit to be responsible for the ARS program. The State Monitor Advocate has the responsibility to assess the ARS program on a regular basis and to make recommendations to correct operational deficiencies, when warranted.

    2. Local Office Responsibilities. Local offices have the primary primary responsibility for providing ARS services to employers and workers. More specifically, the local offices:

      • Serve agricultural employers by helping them meet their needs for specific numbers of workers on specified dates.

      • Collaborate with agricultural employers, to the extent feasible, to plan in advance for workers and coordinate these plans with the projected availabilty of workers.

      • Assist workers by locating successive job opportunities and by referring them to those jobs in an expeditious and orderly manner.

      • Encourage and assist all farmworkers in finding permanent year-round employment.

      • Ensure that the needs of farmworkers for supportive services (welfare, health, education, etc.) are brought to the attention of the appropriate community groups and refer workers to these providers when appropriate.

      • Coordinate with the Private Industry Councils (PICs) in the local offices' Service Delivery Area (SDA) to highlight training needs of both agricultural employers and workers.

      • Ensure that employment is offered to all available and qualified local agricultural workers before out-of-area workers, domestic or foreign, are authorized.

      • Provide information about the ARS to employers and workers and, when appropriate, promote ARS use.

      • Play a key role in verifying date of need to provide migrant workers the protection of a guaranteed first week of work.

      • Obtain information on the number and characteristics of migratory workers.

      • Ensure that all workers using ES offices have work applications and are offered all available employment services, benefits and protections, including the full range of counseling, testing, training, and job referral services.

      • Encourage farmworkers not to migrate unless they have firm job commitments.

      • Provide current labor market information and other ES services to agricultural employers.

  8. Technical and Informational Material. The materials listed below have been developed to guide ARS implemen- tation, inform employers and workers, and promote use of the ARS:

    1. Technical Handbook:  Agricultural Recruitment System. The Technical Handbook provides detailed guidance for SESA and Regional staff on implementation of the ARS.

    2. Employer's Booklet: What Employers Need to Know About Obtaining Temporary Workers Through the Agricultural Recruitment System.  The Employer's Booklet provides a comprehensive picture of how the ARS can help an agricultural or food processing employer. The booklet also provides forms and instructions for employers who choose to independently prepare a recruitment order and attachments.

    3. The Agricultural Recruitment System: What Is It & How Can It Help You Hire Temporary Workers?   This brochure for employers provides an overview of the ARS and answers typical questions employers may ask about it.

    4. The Agricultural Recruitment System: A Worker's Guide.  This brochure highlights benefits of ARS for workers and provides an overview of how the system works.

    The above materials will be distributed at the ARS training conferences to be conducted prior to the l992 harvest season.

  9. ARS Training. To implement the improved ARS, a series of Multi-Regional Training Conferences have been planned for State and Regional staff. The training, utilizing the new materials, will be conducted by the National Office, Work Group members and consultant staff. The Multi-Regional Training Conferences will be two-day sessions each, with "train-the trainer" elements. Each conference will provide training on the ARS, focusing on the changes which are intended to make the system a more unified "national" system. Those trained at the Multi-Regional Training Conferences will in turn be responsible for conducting training at the State or sub-State levels for other State and local office staff. Regional staff will advise you of the dates and locations of the Multi-Regional Training Conferences.

  10. Actions Required. State agencies shall:

  11. Inquiries. State agencies should direct inquiries to the appropriate Regional Office.