Training tomorrow’s ‘green’ employees at QBG
by Andrew Pavia
Dec 19, 2012 | 4460 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The 10th graduating class of the green jobs training program at the Queens Botanical Garden.
The 10th graduating class of the green jobs training program at the Queens Botanical Garden.
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As jobs in the “green” sector of the economy grow in demand, a new program at the Queens Botanical Gardens (QBG) is training qualified workers to enter this rapidly expanding industry.

In conjunction with LaGuardia Community College and the Port Authority, the Green Jobs Training Program at QBG provides hands-on job training to predominately unemployed people.

At the end of the free two-week program, graduates receive a certificate and the necessary skills to work in the areas of green cleaning and housekeeping, waste management, and sustainable landscape design and maintenance.

On Friday, December 14, the program graduated its 10th class, with 31 students joining the 213 students who have already completed the program. Of those, 155 have found employment for a 64 percent success rate.

Patty Kleinberg of QBG said once the students complete the process and graduate, they feel rejuvenated because they have a leg up on the competition.

“It gives them hope,” she said.

The program covers a wide range of topics in a short period. For instance, in addition to learning some basic sustainability concepts, students learn what chemicals are less harmful to clean with in labs, how to use a buffer, and even customer service.

Graduate Patricia Ortiz said that she was denied a job specifically because she had no experience using a buffer, despite her three years of maintenance experience. She said learning the skill in the program gave her the confidence to keep trying to find a job.

“Coming to this class,” Ortiz said, “every day and on time for the past two weeks, I feel like personally it gives me the confidence to more forward.”

Another student who graduated on Friday was Renshon Michel, who said the program was “wonderful.” He said, that he was grateful that the program was free and how informative it was.

Graduate Renshon Michel said that while the program helped him with regard to employment opportunity, it also taught him and his fellow students ways to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

“Through the program, they have helped us recognize our planet’s true sustainability and the affect of our carbon footprint,” he said.

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