Local college student making waves with new app he helped create that assists farm workers find jobs

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Alex Avalos is a sophomore at West Hills College in Coalinga and he hopes to completely change how farm workers find jobs. (KFSN)

Alex Avalos is a sophomore at West Hills College in Coalinga and he hopes to completely change how farm workers find jobs.

After instructor Clint Cowden encouraged Avalos to go to an ag-inspired Hackathon put on by UC Davis, Avalos joined with four UC Davis students to create Ag for Hire.

The 18-year-old Huron native used to work in the fields during his summer's off from high school. He said more than 90-percent of field workers have smartphones and could use an app to help them find work.

"We pitched the idea to UC Davis and we won first place and we actually won a trip to Switzerland to compete in the global competition."

Avalos and his co-founders received high praise while in Switzerland where they met tech industry leaders from around the world.

The app works similar to social media sites like Facebook or Linked in. Farm workers can create profiles, click on jobs they're interested in, and list their skills.

Avalos said,"Welding, heavy machinery, driving, those skills are sometimes hard to showcase around or let someone know you can do those things. In this app is going to let you know if the farmer can actually endorse those skills."

The jobs are posted by farmers who are looking for help in the field.

So far hundreds of farm workers in Northern California have signed up and five farms. He said they're now looking to expand Ag for Hire to the Central Valley.

"We're really excited, we've got a lot of good communications with local growers. In the past two to three weeks have been communicating and showing a lot of interest that they want to be part of it," said Cowden.

"We surveyed to see potentially if they would be comfortable using the app, and they were actually really surprised and excited to see the app," said Avalos.

Right now there's just the web version of Ag for Hire, but it will soon be available on the App Store and Google Play store by October.
Related Topics:
technologymobile appfarmingjobsagricultureCoalinga
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