Georgia officials are setting their sights on a pool of workers many companies across the world take advantage of to help their severe farm labor gap: prisoners.
Many of the immigrants workers who work on these farms came through a federal guest worker program. But there is currently a labor shortage and the state may turn to inmates for extra help. The work would include picking fruits and vegetables across the state.
State officials hope the nonviolent offenders would be motivated to learn new skills, earn money and eventually land steady jobs that would help them once they get out of prison.
The prisoners would help fill open jobs in Georgia’s $68.8 billion agricultural industry, the state’s largest. And Farmers could become eligible for federal Work Opportunity tax credits by hiring the offenders once they finish their terms.