Milwaukee-based UMOS, Inc. has landed a $25 million annual federal contract to operate a Head Start program for migrant and seasonal worker families in Texas.
The nonprofit organization recently received a notice of award from the U.S. Department of Children and Families to operate the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program in the Rio Grande Valley region. An initial funding award of $778,613 will cover the startup period of Nov. 1 through the end of the year, and UMOS expects to receive subsequent awards totaling $25.4 million per year to operate the program for the next five years.
UMOS is contracted to serve 1,883 children and pregnant women of migrant and seasonal farmworker families through 20 centers located in five Texas counties. The organization plans to hire up to 638 employees as part of the contract. It will open a regional office in Donna, Texas for the program.
“Patience is a virtue,” said Lupe Martinez, president and chief executive officer of UMOS. “We have patiently waited over 25 years for the opportunity to operate the program in Texas.”
UMOS currently operates Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Programs in Arkansas, Missouri and Wisconsin. The school readiness program provides education, health, dental, mental health, transition supports, parental empowerment training and other services for families.
“We are excited about the opportunity to bring our 28 years of experience in providing Migrant and Seasonal Head Start services and 55 years of overall experience in serving migrant farmworker families to the Texas Rio Grande Valley region,” says Martinez.
The new contract continues UMOS’s growth trajectory. Recently, the organization expanded into Illinois, opening four new offices to provide farmworker job support services in the state, with a $1.75 million annual U.S. Department of Labor contract.
The organization, which has its headquarters on Milwaukee’s south side, has operations in Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas and Wisconsin.
Since being incorporated in 1965 as migrant farmworker advocacy agency United Migrant Opportunity Services, the organization has grown into a multi-state social services agency with 40-plus contracts and about 610 employees. As of the end of August, its grant revenues totaled $39.5 million.
Its services fall largely within three divisions: workforce development, which includes the farmworkers job, TechHire, and Wisconsin Works (W-2) programs; child development, which includes the Migrant Head Start and child care programs; and social services, which includes a bilingual domestic violence prevention, home energy assistance, food pantry, HIV testing and case management and off-farm labor housing assistance programs.