- Associated Press - Friday, June 24, 2016

DETROIT (AP) - A collaborative effort seeks to provide more unemployed Detroit residents with job training and placement related to work in a host of green careers such as urban agriculture, landscape construction, floral decor and urban forestry, organizers said.

The Detroit Conservation Corps has set a goal to train and employ 2,500 people from Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck by 2020. Participants include people who have been incarcerated as well as those dealing with substance abuse, homelessness and a lack of education or job skills.

The groups involved are “committed to giving unemployed Detroiters the dignity of a living wage job, a pathway to a better future, and the opportunity to help transform their lives - and their communities.” Rebecca Salminen Witt, president of nonprofit The Greening of Detroit, said in a statement.

Each eight-week session provides participants with technical training, work-readiness skills and support services. Trainees are placed directly into jobs.

Under a partnership with the city of Detroit, participants can work on efforts to clean up and improve city neighborhoods. One crew is clearing nearly 300 vacant lots in Detroit’s Fitzgerald neighborhood for a green infrastructure project this summer.

The Detroit Conservation Corps also involves groups including Focus: HOPE and the Neighborhood Services Organization. Backing includes $550,000 from the McGregor Fund and $1 million from JPMorgan Chase, which also donated a bank branch for use as a training hub.

“The city of Detroit cannot come back if the people here are not part of the change they want to see here. We need to make sure all Detroiters are part of the city’s transformation,” said McGregor Fund President Kate Levin Markel.

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Online:

http://www.greeningofdetroit.com

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