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Monday, October 21 • 3:45pm - 4:15pm
From Tree Branches to Career Branches: Developing Pathways to Sustainable Employment for Returning Citizens

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Temple University’s Vocational Certificate in Urban Greening and Sustainable Landcare is at the intersection of two major concerns for the University and the City of Philadelphia: sustainability and green industries, and sustainable career paths for returning citizens. The program provides multiple entry points into green industries that are vital to Philadelphia’s mission of sustainability, by combining skills-based experiential training and job readiness curricula for students at the Philadelphia Department of Prisons with post-release paid internships.

This presentation will provide an overview of the Vocational Certificate in Urban Greening and Sustainable Landcare, and the specific elements that address barriers faced by returning citizens. We’ll cover the program’s skills-based experiential model; individualized learning opportunities; and the wide range of partners involved in facilitating the program (including the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Get Healthy Philly, the Mayor’s Office of Reintegration Services, and the Defender Association), enabling both expert instruction and access to a broad support network for students returning to their communities. We’ll also discuss the paid post-release internships, designed to strengthen the connection between the program’s learning objectives and their implementation in the workplace.

By sharing best practices and lessons learned, we aim to facilitate discussion around the ways in which higher education institutions can best serve students re-entering urban communities and workforces. Through creative instructional design and the development of partnerships with diverse organizations, we can develop programs that integrate industry-specific competencies with the skills and networks needed to tackle the numerous barriers faced by returning citizens.

avatar for Vanessa Williams

Vanessa Williams

Instructional Designer/Trainer, Temple University
Vanessa Williams is the Instructional Designer and Trainer for Temple University’s Off-Campus Programs and Training. She completed her PhD at the University of Pennsylvania in August 2017. Vanessa currently oversees off-campus corporate and community training programs, and works... Read More →
avatar for Nicole Westrick

Nicole Westrick

Associate Vice Provost, University College, Temple University

Monday October 21, 2019 3:45pm - 4:15pm EDT