Title

We Speak English Here: A Review of the Effects of Language Barriers and Study Design for Further Research in Agriculture

Presenter Information

Camryn CliftFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Agriculture Communications and Spanish

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Tanya Romero-González

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

In agriculture around the world, obtaining a sufficient workforce willing to participate in the arduous labor required in the field has long been one of the biggest dilemmas in the industry. The H-2A program, which allows individuals from countries outside of the United States to fill seasonal positions left vacant by American workers, has helped to fulfill this need for labor since its creation in 1952. Although issues such as fair housing and healthcare have been studied in relation to H-2A workers, a direct investigation into the effects of language barriers between employers and employees has not been conducted. My paper addresses the issue of such language barriers with special attention to the way they affect the quality of life of the workers and their work efficiency. Specifically, in my project, I will be evaluating the currently documented effects of language barriers in fields such as healthcare and construction, with additions from the field of agriculture where possible. This paper also serves as an extensive discussion on the study design for further research involving Spanish-speaking H-2A workers. Interviews and forms for Spanish-speaking H-2A workers, non-Spanish-speaking employers, and Spanish-speaking employers have been developed for the purpose of conducting a study with Spanish-speaking H-2A workers and their employers in Western Kentucky. These materials are analyzed and discussed in this paper and can be used for further study by others. I argue that language barriers have negative effects, and that interviews with the workers and farmers themselves are necessary for a better understanding of this issue.

Other Scholars Week Event

GLT 400

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We Speak English Here: A Review of the Effects of Language Barriers and Study Design for Further Research in Agriculture

In agriculture around the world, obtaining a sufficient workforce willing to participate in the arduous labor required in the field has long been one of the biggest dilemmas in the industry. The H-2A program, which allows individuals from countries outside of the United States to fill seasonal positions left vacant by American workers, has helped to fulfill this need for labor since its creation in 1952. Although issues such as fair housing and healthcare have been studied in relation to H-2A workers, a direct investigation into the effects of language barriers between employers and employees has not been conducted. My paper addresses the issue of such language barriers with special attention to the way they affect the quality of life of the workers and their work efficiency. Specifically, in my project, I will be evaluating the currently documented effects of language barriers in fields such as healthcare and construction, with additions from the field of agriculture where possible. This paper also serves as an extensive discussion on the study design for further research involving Spanish-speaking H-2A workers. Interviews and forms for Spanish-speaking H-2A workers, non-Spanish-speaking employers, and Spanish-speaking employers have been developed for the purpose of conducting a study with Spanish-speaking H-2A workers and their employers in Western Kentucky. These materials are analyzed and discussed in this paper and can be used for further study by others. I argue that language barriers have negative effects, and that interviews with the workers and farmers themselves are necessary for a better understanding of this issue.