How does apprenticeship take us to a more sustainable world? A great question. For Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association (RINLA) it is about knowledge to create and maintain green infrastructure and landscape based resiliency.
As highlighted in Growing Horticulture Careers in Rhode Island, RINLA’s apprenticeship program is about raising the sophistication of “Green Collar Jobs.” Through collaboration with the New York based firm KK&P (Karen Karp and Partners), which “inspires, provokes and generates food systems innovation,” RINLA has developed a registered apprenticeship program to “recruit, train, and retain the next generation of “green collar” career seekers.” (KK&P). Through the program, employers from a wide range of horticulture, environmental, agriculture and landscape businesses will be able to find the workers they need, provide training, and a create a sustainable workforce.
KK&P has worked with RINLA and the many businesses that are a part of the association to learn more about the needs of individual employers, and how these needs can be addressed in the apprenticeship model. According to Shannon Brawley, the Executive Director of RINLA, “The Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association believes in the Apprenticeship model – what’s not to love about a model that provides employees a way to earn while you learn, provides education that meets the standards and needs of industry, provides a valuable communication tool for employers and employees, provides young people with a career pathway with living wages and begins to solve many other issues facing green industry and our community.”
That’s exactly why, over the next 5 years, KK&P will work with RINLA to implement a sustainable apprenticeship program for the organization, with the possibility of expanding to nationwide organizations. As the first cohort of 30 apprentices launched in February, RINLA is optimistic that the apprentices will follow meaningful careers in the agricultural and green industries, and that the registered apprenticeship program will provide a model for workforce development both in Rhode Island and across the nation.