PathStone Outreach Coordinator Juan Morales sits in his office in Presque Isle. Credit: David DiMinno / The Star-Herald

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A community development duo new to Maine are pooling their talents and federal grant money in a mission to employ more migrant workers in 2022. 

The nonprofit PathStone has received a National Farm Workers Jobs Program grant to help qualified participants find work or receive valuable certifications, such as a commercial driver’s license.  

PathStone is a relatively new addition to Maine, and especially to Aroostook County. The mission is twofold: to find workers to fill employers’ needs, and to help migrant and seasonal workers obtain jobs and build self-sufficiency. It joins other Aroostook County groups that help provide resources for migrant and seasonal workers, such as the MaineCareer Center, the Maine Migrant Education Program and Mano e Mano (Hand in Hand).

Founded in 1971, PathStone is based in Rochester, New York, and employs two representatives in Maine: Outreach Coordinator Juan Morales, based in Presque Isle, and Regional Administrator Elizabeth Grout in Bangor. 

This year, as the organization is trying to build relationships and get to know County growers, they decided to create some outreach in Maine.

“This is not a cookie cutter program. We here at PathStone understand every person is unique, whether they would like to stay in the field or not, we can help them achieve their goals,” Morales said. 

Morales, an Aroostook County resident for the past two years, started with PathStone this year. He has made it his mission to connect migrant and seasonal workers to employers who have a demand for more employees. 

Qualified applicants are people who have at least six months of verifiable income from a farmer or grower, and have half of their income come from a farmer or grower. They also offer assistance to qualifying dependents of those migrant and seasonal workers, Morales said.

The fuel for Maine’s PathStone team is knowing they have an opportunity to help people, bringing their own passion into the work they do.

“I always wanted to help people through nonprofits,” Grout said. “My path brought me to Florida for a few years, and then after starting my family, I wanted to get back to my passion and be able to help more people. So, I found PathStone, and we moved on up to Maine.”

With the Farm Workers Jobs Program grant, PathStone will be able to help 50 Maine applicants in this first round. They are also hard at work applying for more grants, with a goal to be able to help more farmers and workers in the future. 

For information regarding PathStone or the Farm Workers Jobs Program grant, contact Juan Morales at the Aroostook County Action Program headquarters in Presque Isle at 554-4158, extension 158.

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David DiMinno

David grew up in New York, and moved to Maine to study political science at the University of Maine. In his spare time, he loves hiking, playing tennis and skiing.