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Mayor Richard M. Daley commended graduates of the City’s Greencorps Chicago job-training program during a ceremony today at the South Shore Cultural Center. The 17-year-old program offers formerly incarcerated individuals job-training through workshops, technical assistance and educational programs.
“It is well known that many formerly incarcerated individuals return to Chicago after having paid their debt to society and often either have difficulty finding steady employment or don’t have the resources to learn the skills they need to get a job,” said Mayor Daley. “They are looking forward to contributing to their family and neighborhoods as law abiding, hard-working, tax-paying residents but are missing opportunities. The Greencorps program provides opportunities to help these men and women get on their feet, start new lives and become productive members of society.”
In addition to teaching job skills, the program has had a tremendous impact on the landscape of community and school gardens across the city, as well as on many other environmentally friendly projects. In fact, Greencorps has helped build or maintain more than 600 gardens throughout Chicago and more than 300 gardens citywide have received materials through the program’s free plant distribution.
In addition, Greencorps also provided energy efficiency measures to over 500 homes this past winter and helped recycle or properly dispose of tons of electronic and hazardous waste at the City’s Household Chemical and Computer Recycling Facility.
The one-year green job training program begins each March. Trainees learn through hands-on experiences in community garden projects, commercial landscapes, classroom training and other in-the-field job sites. Greencorps works with over 30 partners to recruit participants, support job readiness, serve as internship hosts and provide professional certifications, often leading to permanent jobs once their training is completed.
Several graduates have already received job offers in the areas of green remodeling, landscaping, and tree care.
“I would like to congratulate today’s graduates and thank you for all the work you’ve put into the city’s gardens,” said Mayor Daley. “The knowledge, perseverance and discipline you have demonstrated in order to complete this program are life skills that you will have forever – whether you pursue landscaping, go back to school or enter into a different career.”
The following programs are offered by Greencorps Chicago:
- Garden Certification: All community garden groups must be certified every five years to remain eligible for any Greencorps Chicago community gardening programs. Organizations working in a public space including schools, faith based institutions, libraries, public housing communities and block clubs may participate in our community gardening programs. Certification includes a complete certification form, photos of the garden and a letter of permission to garden on the site from the property manager or owner for a minimum of five years.
- Plant Distribution Days: Five times a year, Greencorps Chicago distributes seeds, vegetables, annuals, perennials and bulbs free of charge to community organizations throughout the city. Any community garden in Chicago may apply for this program.
- Garden Assistance: Assistance is available for community garden groups in the form of horticultural expertise from staff, installation and maintenance help from our job trainees and garden materials including plants, soil and tools. Gardens must participate in educational workshops focused on community garden and group sustainability. Workshop topics covered are garden design, installation and maintenance, community group organization, recruitment and retention.
For more information, to get involved in any of these programs or to be placed on our mailing list, please call 312.744.8691 or visit the City’s web site at www.cityofchicago.org.