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Green Corps Program Connects Grads to Jobs in Growing Horticulture Industry

Friday, March 21, 2014
Contact: Tyler Lowry, Franklin County Commissioners 614/525/6630
Hanna Greer, Franklin County Commissioners, 614/525-5848

Eight new members of the Central Ohio workforce graduated yesterday from Green Corps, a vocational training program that helps prepare low-income young people for jobs in horticulture-related industries. All of the graduates already have jobs waiting for them in the field.

Green Corps, now entering its 4th year, is a partnership between the Franklin County Commissioners, the Central Ohio Workforce Investment Corporation (COWIC), and the Franklin Park Conservatory. The 34- week program includes in-class instruction as well as practical grounds work experience, field trips, and internships. Students are paid a small hourly wage while taking part.

“I’m so proud of our Green Corps graduates,” said Franklin County Board of Commissioners President, Marilyn Brown. “They’ve made a commitment and investment in their futures, and I know that they are all going to find success.”

Green Corps is open to youth 18 to 21 years old with a high school diploma (or equivalent). Class topics include plant propagation, botany basics, organic garden practices and design. Personal development and job readiness are also stressed through classes in time management, financial literacy, conflict resolution, and starting a business.

“Here in Franklin County, jobs are our number 1, 2, and 3 priorities,” Commissioner Paula Brooks said. “The Green Corps program equips these young men and women with the skills, training, and experience needed to secure a steady, well-paying job and provide for their families. At the same time, the smart, sustainable, eco-friendly practices they learn through the Green Corps help ensure we leave behind a safe, secure environment for our future generations.”

Other Green Corps experience includes grounds work and landscaping, pruning, tool maintenance, and vegetable care and harvesting. The program is forming classes now to start later this summer, and graduation is timed for when horticulture industry hiring typically begins in the spring. Interested students should contact COWIC at 614-559-5075 or ljackson@cowic.org.

“Franklin County is the fastest growing county in the state, and having a smart, well-educated workforce is part of how we keep that growth going,” said Commissioner John O’Grady. “I’m proud of these Green Corps graduates, and glad to have them as in the workforce.”

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