logo with silhouette of farmers and words "Cornell Cooperative Extension Agricultural Workforce Development"

Workforce Development

Workforce Development

Cornell Cooperative Extension Monroe County's horticulture program is committed to supporting Monroe County residents who are experiencing unemployment or underemployment.  We accomplish this through several workforce development programs in partnership with community gardens, horticulture businesses, and our own South Lawn Project. 


The Landscape Technicians Training Program is a 120-hour training for individuals seeking employment in the field of horticulture. The program is strongly supported by the horticulture industry as most instructors are volunteers who work in the field. Local nursery, retail and landscape companies are in dire need of workers. Students are given basic horticultural knowledge and an introduction to the many career paths they can follow. Students also receive their 10-hour OSHA Construction Safety certification. As graduation approaches, job offers will come in and students will work with the Program Director to apply and prepare for interviews. The goal of the program is for all students to gain immediate employment upon completion of the program.

The Growing Relevant and Outstanding Work Skills (GROWS) Program is geared towards young adults who are unemployed and live in low-income neighborhoods in the City of Rochester. The South Lawn Project (SLP) involves the development of an educational farm on a half-acre at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Monroe County office, just north of the City of Rochester boundary. Utilizing work on the farm through a transitional jobs program and horticulture education, we will teach young adults how to grow vegetables, help them understand the power of fresh produce as they deliver harvests to local food cupboards and, at the same time, help them build structure in their daily lives and develop the soft skills they need to be successful employees. By working side-by-side with CCE Monroe staff, the participants will gain daily mentoring to help them embrace these lessons. The end goal is to help them secure employment in the horticulture or agriculture industry.

The Rochester Works Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) Program utilizes the format of both the LTTP and the GROWS program to support young adults dealing with the challenges of violence and unemployment through a combination of horticulture education, job-readiness training and mentoring with the goals of creating structure in their daily lives, building soft work skills, and becoming a successful employee. These young adults learn to grow food for themselves and for the community, empowering them to make healthier life choices. 

The South Lawn Project is an educational urban farm and garden.  It is a transformation of CCE-Monroe's .5 acres of lawn into a working urban farm, display gardens and outdoor classroom space.  Features include display gardens, a fenced "truck farm", handicap accessible raised beds and walking paths, a greenhouse, and a butterfly house. This growing space will be used for community experiential learning, workforce development programs, youth development, nutrition education, and more. 

Last updated June 16, 2022