Special Populations Collaborative

Effective Practices for Limited English Proficient Students

Mission College Landscape Training Program

Title of Practice: Landscape Industry Training Program

College: Mission College

College Contact: Christina Oborn, Interim Dean, JDIF Program Coordinator

Sponsored Research and Grants, West Valley-Mission Community College District

14000 Fruitvale Avenue, Saratoga, CA 95070-5698

(408) 741-2095 Christina_oborn@wvmccd.cc.ca.us

Target Population: LEP & Economically Disadvantaged

Goals: Target an industry where the employees or prospective employees have language and skill barriers to hiring. The grant set out to work with employers and employees to insure that those needing employment can effectively enter the workforce and incumbent workers can move up the career ladder.

The idea for the grant came out of work done via a contract with the county jail to teach minimum security inmates landscape maintenance. While looking for companies to hire the trained inmates upon release, a gap in trained employees was identified. Additionally, there were a large number of Spanish speaking employees who did not have the technical skills or the language ability to advance to foreman, team lead, or account manager.

Description: There are two levels of training. The first is for employees who have no experience and little English language ability. The second is for incumbent workers to enable them to move up the career ladder effectively. A final piece of the grant was the development of a resource directory for services and courses around Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.

1. Entry level training — The entry level course is 5-6 weeks long at Mission college taught by horticulture professionals. The course covers the safe use and care of power tools, pruning, pesticide application, CPR, and industry specific vocational ESL. The course includes field trips to nurseries as well as hands-on work on the campus. At the end of the course there is an employment assistance component, with most leads coming from the industry itself.

2. Incumbent Workers – The second course includes additional training in pruning (24 hours), installation and maintenance of irrigation systems (24 hours), the development of supervisory skills (8 hours), continued vocational ESL (30 hours), command Spanish (18 – 24 hours), and Train-the Trainer (8 hours).

To date, there have been 3 entry level classes with approximately 20 students per class. Additionally, there have been two incumbent worker classes with approximately 10 in each course. Each class costs $25.00 per person.

Staffing: There is a part time Director , part time Project Coordinator and full time Program Assistant.

Facilities, equipment, materials:

Gardening and landscape maintenance tools, tool shed

Practice sites on campus

Compiled binder of materials covering safety regulations, use and care of hand and power tools, landscaping techniques, etc. All materials are in English.

The grant also purchased for each student boots, jeans, gloves, ear plugs, safety goggles, helmets, and work t-shirts.

Costs, funding source: The CCCCO Job Development Incentive Fund Grant ended September 2006. They received $597,000 total for two years.

Outreach and marketing: 1. Advertising in Local papers. The San Jose Mercury News was effective and yielded serious students. Ads in the “throw-away” papers and Penny Saver paper were less effective. 2. Outreach through Community Based Organizations (such as Good Will, the Workforce Investment Board, One Stop Centers, Adult Schools, and the San Jose job corps) was effective.

Evidence of effectiveness: All participants have been placed in jobs.

Suggestions for replication: Be aware that it may be difficult to keep the incumbent workers in the classes as many of them got jobs during the course of the class and quit.