ETD Recognized for Work with Botanical Garden – Times-Standard

Staff members of the Employment Training Division of the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services were honored Feb. 10 at the Humboldt Botanical Garden during the annual Volunteer Luncheon. The winners were selected by the Humboldt Botanical Garden Foundation Board of Trustees and garden staff.

ETD program manager Connie Lorenzo said the program’s employment development team places work experience interns from DHHS’s CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work program and the Humboldt Second Chance program, which helps formerly incarcerated people to find a job.

Garden manager Terry Kramer said the Humboldt Botanical Garden has worked with ETD staff for 10 years.

“They are an excellent source of labor for us,” she says.

Kramer said that being a non-profit organization, the Humboldt Botanical Garden cannot afford to hire a large staff, but the work still needs to be done. She said attendees learn basic gardening skills, like using lawn mowers and weeders, how to prune, mow, fertilize, irrigate and propagate. Kramer said that in addition to gardening skills, participants learn the importance of other things, like getting to work on time and being part of a team.

“Garden staff provide strong supervision and training that prepares clients for the rigors and expectations of the job, while providing them with professional landscaping skills,” Lorenzo said. “The partnership benefits DHHS, but has also benefited the garden, in that it provides much-needed labor to help maintain and keep the gardens in show shape.”

Through this partnership, Kramer said the botanical garden has hired two garden assistants. While the garden can’t hire everyone, Kramer said she checks in with local nursery officials when dedicated program graduates are ready to find jobs and say good things about them.

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