70% of DC Green Corps Graduates Find Employment

Left to right: Travis Marcus Freeman, Turrell Antonio Smith, Carl Jackson Jr., RonDell Pooler

Congratulations to Travis Freeman, Carl Jackson, and Turrell Smith – the graduating members of Washington Parks and People’s DC Green Corps Cohort #5. The graduates were honored at a ceremony held on Thursday, July 18, 2013 at the Riverside Center, Washington Parks and People’s location in Northeast Washington, DC. The ceremony included remarks from the trainees, as well as from Washington Parks and People staff, grantors and partners.

The three graduates of Cohort #5 each received a certificate acknowledging their completion of DC Green Corps’ 12 week training program. Over the course of the program, Corpsmembers are instructed in tree planting and maintenance; invasive species removal; stream restoration strategies; storm water mitigation techniques; and urban agriculture. The graduates – all of whom are DC residents – leave the program with job readiness skills and a working of understanding of landscaping and urban forestry.

More specifically, the members of Cohort #5 planted 11 native trees at Brookland Manor, in Northeast, DC; and they planted 10 native trees at Kimball Elementary School, in Southeast. They also constructed 24 raised garden beds and completed extensive invasive plant removal at Marvin Gaye Park, in Northeast, and Walter Pierce Park, in Northwest, DC.

According to RonDell Pooler, a Washington Parks and People Field Coordinator, about 70 percent of the 128 trainees that have graduated from DC Green Corps found employment upon completion of the Green Corps training program. Pooler says the graduates have migrated into a wide range of career fields.

“Some are in child care, retail, security, landscaping, maintenance, and a few have started small businesses. Some have even continued their education through college or other vocational training.”

Of the three graduates from Cohort #5, Travis Freeman is enrolled in another training program; Turrell Smith is working as a freelance artist; and Carl Jackson has three part-time jobs, including a position as a host at the Josephine Butler Parks Center, Washington Parks and People’s headquarters. The Cohort started with nine members, but two found employment before the end of the program. All graduating members were unemployed at the start of the program. 

The Corps Network's Carol Huls with the graduates and RonDell Pooler, WPP employee


Video: DC Green Corps featured in video about green jobs in the District


Washington Parks & People featured prominently in a recent video about green jobs created by The University of the District of Columbia's College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Evironmental Sciences (CAUSES). The video looks closely at Parks & People's DC Green Corps program, which provides job training in urban forestry and watershed restoration to adults (18 and older) from underserved neighborhoods in DC. Green Corps members help improve DC parks and waterways, learn valuable hard and soft job skills, and graduate the program after 12 weeks with new qualifications added to their resumes. The CAUSES video includes interviews with Steve Coleman, Executive Director of Washington Parks & People, and RonDell Pooler, a Green Corps alumnus who now works for the organization and is currently coordinating the Corps's fifth cohort.