Since most career pathways programs in our field are run by mission-driven grassroots organizations, programs often reflect the missions of the organizations operating them, instead of reflecting the needs and priorities of the market and local canopy conditions. When programs are missing key elements like on-the-job activities alongside experienced urban forestry professionals, or in-depth workplace readiness and safety training, they put participants at risk being less competitive in the marketplace.
Similarly, when area employers and program partner organizations are missing essential elements key to retention like mentorship networks, incentives for professional development, and inclusionary policies, they put themselves at a competitive disadvantage relative to other entities competing for the same workers.
The good news is that pre-employment programs that are responsive to workforce and market needs already exist, and with the right support, their success is replicable.
Check out these case studies on successful urban forestry career pathways programs that address market demand, canopy conditions, and workforce skills development.