Green Jobs Teach Life Skills

Young people working in Solar Youth's Green Jobs program are not only earning money to work outside and beautify neighborhoods around New Haven. They are also developing valuable skills that will help them professionally and in life.

The Green Jobs team at a cleanup of Wintergreen Brook.

Young people in Solar Youth's Green Jobs program not only earn money to work outside. They also beautify New Haven neighborhoods while developing skills that will help them professionally and in life.

Green Jobs was launched in 2010 with a grant from the CT Office of Policy and Management's Urban Youth Violence Prevention program in response to a need for constructive out-of-school opportunities for at-risk teens. A lack of funding suspended the program for a year until it was restarted with support from Elm City Communities, corporate funders, and a three-year grant from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.

As a result, Green Jobs teams were once again working in their communities on service projects that included planting gardens, cleaning up playgrounds, and maintaining nature trails.

Working under the guidance of staff, the young participants are involved in identifying projects that they want to work on, designing the solutions, and carrying out the work. Professional expectations at Green Jobs are high. Interns learn to be on time, work hard, dress, and behave professionally. They also learn "hard skills" associated with sustainable living and industries and develop a better understanding of the Green Jobs professional landscape.

Interns also receive motivational, emotional, and strategic support, training and games focused on teamwork and leadership. The program also brings the participants on field trips around Greater New Haven to universities, parks, museums, and companies involved in green jobs.

"My experience as a Green Jobs intern has changed me because I actually want to change the bad things around my community," said Shania, a recent intern.

To learn more or offer support, please visit the Solar Youth profile.

Did you Know?

Solar Youth provides year-round programs for approximately 500 youth annually, including 75+ paid internships for teenagers.

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.