The Retreat Farm project in Brattleboro is a 10-week pilot collaboration between Retreat Farm Ltd. and the Vermont Department of Labor to provide workforce development and training for local youth and young adults between the ages of 18-24 that have significant barriers to employment. Vermont youth from a variety of backgrounds will be enrolled, with the end goal of helping youth and young adults from disadvantaged circumstances overcome obstacles and achieve success as members of the workforce. The program will be designed to allow youth and young adults between the ages of 18-24 to explore career opportunities and develop basic work skills with significant support, mentoring, and supervision from skilled professionals at Retreat Farm.
Program participants will engage in variety of areas during the project, including but not limited to:
- Learn about reliability, punctuality, perseverance, proper dress and safety equipment use, tool use, how to work safely around farm animals, and how to prepare for outside work in adverse weather, and they will do so while being mentored by expert craftspeople, growers, and farmers.
- Trail work including building handicap-accessible boardwalks, invasive species removal, and trail repair.
- Farm and garden work, helping with fieldwork and harvest to support our Free Farm Share for local families and other food access programs, assisting in the educational Hope Garden, and taking care of the animals.
- Building of board-walks, removal invasives from a mile of trail, help to grow and harvest at least 3,000 pounds of vegetables for the community, and enhance the beauty of the Retreat Farm site for all the people it serves.
At the end of the summer, success will be measured partly by the volume of physical work completed. More importantly, it will be measured by the increased readiness and confidence of the program participants and by their interest and ability to seek and find meaningful employment