Supporting local farmers and farmers markets does more to the support the local economy than you might think, something participants in Goodwill’s GoodGuides youth mentoring program have known all along. GoodGuides is one of just a few large scale, career-focused youth mentoring programs and their staff members persistently create and strengthen relationships with local businesses, educational organizations and employers to help the youth (ages 12-17) in their programs gain a window into the world of post-secondary education and work. The program is supported by the Department of Justice with an Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Program grant to create opportunities and pathways for young people at risk for involvement with the justice system. The program has served more than 11,000 youth with more than 6,000 trained and supported community mentors and provided more than 400,000 hours of career awareness to help youth build their potential, explore career opportunities, sharpen their job readiness skills and access post-secondary education.
Also, the world of farming itself is becoming more reliant on emerging technology. As such, it is expanding a whole range of careers to today’s budding computer scientists and engineers. With innovative technologies at work in agricultural production and new farm equipment almost completely computerized, the intersection between tech and agriculture is only intensifying. A range of federal program resources are available to those in farming – from grants and loans to technical assistance and information. Some resources are focused on matching our country’s need to improve agricultural production with those who have challenges in their careers – including military veterans transitioning to the civilian workforce. Goodwill is also engaged in communities across the country to help people get to work and realize successful futures for themselves and their families.
You may not have known what’s going on behind the scenes (or the cash register) at your local farmers market – but now that you do, you also know a bit more about what we advocate for – opportunities for people to access the skills they need to reach their full potential through learning and the power of work. With Congress in recess, now’s a great time to join our action network and join people like you across the country telling their story of how an education, skill-building, or support program helped them or a family member. Then when you head to the farmers market, you’ll know how you’ve helped make it an even better place.