This year, Historic Oakland Foundation launched a new workforce development program. The Youth Landscape and Hardscape Team (YLHT) program is a six-week program that provides steady, paid summer employment, on-the-job training, and workplace skills that prepare students for the adult workforce. Metro-Atlanta students ages 15-18 who attend Title I high schools can gain occupational and leadership skills and multi-career exposure while caring for the landscapes and hardscapes of a historic site.
The hardscape team spent their summer identifying and learning about different kinds of stone, reconstructing a damaged brick wall, forming and molding concrete, and using a variety of tools including spades, chisels and hammers, tamps, and more.
The youth on the landscape team learned to classify trees, uproot and relocate plants, trim plantings with hedgers and weed eaters, mix compost and soil, and how to properly care for a variety of plants They even built a privacy screen out of plants near the greenhouse!
Both groups learned a variety of hard skills and were given other learning opportunities by professionals in the fields of finance and mental health. When interviewed, YLHT participant Pablo felt that this program would help prepare him for life by teaching him discipline alongside the other hardscape skills he spent the summer honing.
This program would not have been possible without the help of our sponsors: Bank of America, Truist, Hands All In Charities Inc., Six Feet Under, DAS BBQ, and Republic Social House. We are grateful to them for their support.