Ten new well trained prospective employees entered the workforce yesterday as the newest graduates of the Franklin County Commissioners’ Green Corps program, which is a partnership between the commissioners, Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, the Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio, IMPACT Community Action, and Eckard Connects. Participants in the program are trained by Franklin Park staff for well-paid jobs in the community’s growing green industries.
“Green careers in horticulture, landscaping, urban gardening, and other environmental industries are a growing part of our economy,” said Board of Commissioners President, Kevin L. Boyce. “Helping to prepare these young people for that future is good for them and also good for the community.”
Green Corps began in 2010, and the commissioners fund a new class of participants each year. The program is open to low-income young adults, aged 18-24 who already have a high school diploma or GED, and funding for next year’s class was approved by the commissioners last month. As trainees, the students work side by side with the Conservatory team, and also participate in internships with private companies in the field, learn from guest speakers, and go on field trips to explore the variety of landscaping, urban farming & food production, community gardening, and urban green spaces in Franklin County.
“Growing up, a lot of young people in Central Ohio aren’t exposed to many jobs like the ones these graduates will be taking on,” said Commissioner Marilyn Brown. “It’s an honor to be a part of helping to open that world up to them, and helping to set them on a path to success.”
The Green Corps program lasts ten weeks, and provides work clothes and tools, classroom instruction, hands on & real world experience, guest speakers, networking, and a $10 per hour stipend while in training. Classroom and practical work topics include plant propagation, botany basics, organic gardening practices and design, food cultivation, arboriculture, and landscaping. The students also learn personal development and financial literacy skills in classes on job readiness, conflict resolution, and starting a small business.
“Unfortunately, it’s a reality that hard work alone isn’t always enough to get ahead,” said Commissioner John O’Grady, who also spoke at the graduation ceremony yesterday. “These students are hard workers, though, and now they’ve also got the training to turn that into the seeds of a great career.”
To learn more about Green Corps, visit https://www.fpconservatory.org/education-programs/outreach-programs/green-corps/
. To learn more about the commissioners’ commitment to job creation and economic development, visit https://commissioners.franklincountyohio.gov/core-principles/job-creation