Brian Chandler, 31, a student in the program, said, "It's really exciting to learn different things and how the greenhouse system, lighting and operation all year round works. I might even start my own garden; but the best part is being able to help other people."
The greenhouse will let participants grow crops they can sell at a farmer's market and give them skills in urban farming, Berkley said.
The project also includes a mobile food truck that will deliver greenhouse products to community members. It will be equipped with a full kitchen to prepare and sell food at fairs and other local community events. People will be able to purchase produce from the urban farm, and local farmers can participate in the farmer's market.
Groups of seven to 10 students will train at a time and can participate at the greenhouse, in the kitchen and on the food truck. They can try different positions at different hours to see what they're interested in, Berkley said.
The men will receive six weeks of education and then six weeks of transitional employment. After that, they are encouraged to use their skills to gain employment in construction, culinary jobs or urban farming.
Participants will make $8 an hour in the program, but with certifications like ServSafe, a food handling program, they can make $10 per hour upon finding employment, according to Berkley.
The participants in the Growing Jobs project are recruited from KISRA's Responsible Fatherhood Program, which aims to help put fathers in a position to provide for their families and ultimately make a better environment for children.
This project focuses on fathers, but other parents in need are also welcome to join.
For more information, contact KISRA at 304-768-8924 or visit www.kisra.org.