University City District’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative (WPSI) and PIDC’s Navy Yard Workforce Development Initiatives (NYWDI) are pleased to launch their first collaborative professional development program to train West and South Philadelphia residents for permanent, full-time, quality-wage careers. Four Seasons Total Landscaping is the first employer partner at the Navy Yard to participate in the program and it will offer opportunities for graduates to interview for laborer positions starting at $14/hour. The partnership is made possible thanks to a $1.5 million investment from JP Morgan Chase Foundation to create a place-based network of employer-driven workforce programs in North, South, and West Philadelphia, building on and expanding the WPSI professional development model. The collaborative aims to replicate key aspects of the Skills Initiative’s nationally recognized talent solutions model, where 95% of participants are connected to employment upon successful completion of the program.
“The Skills Initiative has supported more than a thousand talented West Philadelphians in leaving behind long-term unemployment to secure, life-changing jobs,” says UCD President Matt Bergheiser. “We’ve long aspired to expand this work to other neighborhoods through strong and committed partners. PIDC and Four Seasons Total Landscaping offer a superb opportunity to launch this new workforce collaborative at the Navy Yard.”
In addition to its traditional focus on essential front-line positions with the area’s universities, health systems, and other large employers, WPSI has had tremendous success connecting West Philadelphians to landscaping positions through previous partnerships with Brightview Landscaping and in the development of University City District’s own Green City Works social venture landscaping business. Building on this model, WPSI and NYWDI custom-designed the Grounds Maintenance Laborer Program for Four Seasons Total Landscaping to connect participants to the technical training, tools, and supports needed to build a meaningful career in landscaping. Four Seasons Total Landscaping is growing through new contracts with the Philadelphia International Airport and GreenUP (managed by the Philadelphia Water Department), as well as continuing in its role as one of the Navy Yard’s landscaping vendors for the past 20 years.
The Grounds Maintenance Laborer Program will be the first opportunity to utilize the Navy Yard campus for the green industry trades training. The 1,200 campus will provide participants a rich learning environment by combining several green industry job sectors all within one singular location.
“PIDC is grateful for JP Morgan Chase Foundation’s investment and their confidence in us and our partners to create a place-based workforce development program in South Philadelphia at the Navy Yard,” says Anne Bovaird Nevins, President of PIDC. “We are thrilled to collaborate with the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative to engage with Navy Yard businesses, including our longstanding relationship with Four Seasons Total Landscaping. At the completion of the first cohort, PIDC and WPSI will train and connect Philadelphians to quality jobs that offer benefits and sustainable full-time employment, and this is just the first of many to come.”
Founded in 1992, Four Seasons Total Landscaping is a certified women-owned business (WBE) and has grown from a small residential and commercial company to a full-service industrial enterprise. Four Seasons Total Landscaping services the Philadelphia International Airport and the Northeast Philadelphia Airport, handling both interior plant maintenance and exterior grounds maintenance. It has provided two decades of service and maintenance at the Navy Yard, including grass cutting maintenance, site weeding, mulch application, site porting, landscape installs, leaf cleanup, and snow removal.
“Four Seasons Total Landscaping is proud of our long-standing relationship with PIDC and the Navy Yard,” says Marie Siravo, President of Four Seasons Total Landscaping. “We are thrilled to have a role in this exciting program which will bring qualified candidates to join our growing team and set them up for a career in landscaping.”
The Grounds Maintenance Laborer Program is a cohort-based training model that will blend virtual courses and in-person sessions that maintain high standards of safety compliance in the face of COVID-19 to train for two roles: Grounds Maintenance Laborers earning $14/hour, and Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Laborers earning $18.98/hour. During the three-week program, participants will earn an OSHA-10 – General Industry Safety Certification, First Aid/CPR certification, and gain exposure to GSI work, plant beds, and small machinery. This hands-on training will be provided by Four Seasons Total Landscaping in partnership with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), who since 2017 has been transitioning the Navy Yard from conventional landscaping operations to a more environmentally conscientious management plan.
Four Seasons Total Landscaping has a multitude of contracts which allow individuals to gain experience in several ways beyond mulching, planting, and clean-up. This includes opportunities to learn cutting maintenance and GSI, as well as herbicide and pesticide state certifications. Laborers working for Four Seasons Total Landscaping can also be promoted into foreperson roles starting at $18/hour. The process from Laborer to Foreperson can take six to 12 months depending on need in the company, but Four Seasons Total Landscaping seeks to train and promote from within, meaning graduates of the job training program will have opportunities to move up in their career.
The program seeks goal-oriented, motivated individuals living in South & West Philadelphia with a desire to obtain full-time permanent employment in the landscaping industry. Successful candidates must thrive in a labor-intensive, fast-paced environment that operates in all weather conditions. A customer-first mindset and attention to detail and safety is a must for this position. Interested applicants can visit https://navyyard.org/workforce/jobs to learn more about the program and submit an application through Friday, February 5th at 5:00 PM.