Nineteen young Japanese men will begin a three-month program at Hartnell College on Monday, Jan. 12, to study agriculture and vegetable crops.
The Hartnell program is part of a two-year work/study agricultural training program sponsored by the Japanese Agricultural Exchange Council of Tokyo for Japanese high school and college graduates interested in agriculture.
While at Hartnell, the students will attend classes in soil science, vegetable crops and California agricultural business five days a week, visit Salinas Valley farms, and tour agricultural facilities in central and southern California, according to Cicely McCreight, executive director of the Hartnell College Foundation, which is supporting the visit.
"Since 1972, the Hartnell College Foundation has been a proud participant in the Japanese Agricultural Program," said McCreight. "We look forward to another successful session with the 2004 participants."
Lead agriculture instructor will be Vearl Gish. Assisting students with limited-English skills will be English instructor Janet Pessagno and ESL instructor Tonya Creamer.
Guest speakers from the private sector and the University of California Agricultural Extension Service will supplement the classroom curriculum. "The speakers broaden the trainees' knowledge of many areas of agriculture," McCreight explained.
The program is financed by the trainees themselves with a supplement from the Japanese government for administrative expenses. There is no cost to Hartnell College.
In addition to their study at Hartnell, the students work on selected host farms within the United States.
Because Hartnell has no residence halls, the students are housed with local families. "The integration into an American family is an important part of the students' time in the United States," according to Joanne Venegas, Hartnell coordinator for the program. "It also is a very rewarding time for the host families. Several families have hosted students since the program began at Hartnell 32 years ago."
For more information about the program, call Joanne Venegas at (831) 755-6890.