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Noemí Gutierrez says the National Farmworker Jobs Program “completely changed my life.” Photos by Valerie Mosley

 

Before Noemí Gutierrez enrolled in Aims Community College in Fort Lupton, Colo., she worked on a farm outside of Brighton, a small city northeast of Denver out on the plains. It was exhausting work. Her days started at 5 a.m. and often didn’t end until 6 p.m.—hours spent packing vegetables, and sorting and cleaning green beans, sometimes in 100-degree temperatures.

“Your whole body hurts,” Gutierrez told me, recalling how she’d arrive home too tired to do anything but shower, eat and fall asleep.

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