DETROIT — Detroit-area teens are putting their green thumbs to work thanks to Johnson Controls, a global diversified technology and industry leader serving customers in more than 150 countries.
Eighty high school students will start participating this week in the Conservation Leadership Corps, a summer jobs program created and sponsored by Johnson Controls in collaboration with the Student Conservation Association and The Greening of Detroit.
In its fifth year in Detroit, the CLC promotes environmental conservation and the development of professional leadership and job skills, while students complete fundamental environmental projects in local community parks.
“Over the next six weeks of this collaborative program, these high school students will have the unique opportunity to receive hands-on work experience,” said Jennifer Mattes, director, global public affairs for Johnson Controls. “The Conservation Leadership Corps not only focuses on developing professional skills, but also shows the students the importance of environmental conservation.”
Throughout the course of the program, students will work with 17 crew leaders and focus their efforts in Detroit’s Rouge Park, Belle Isle Park, Eliza Howell Park, Brightmoor neighborhood, D-Town Farm and Singing Tree Farm. Student crews will participate in a series of projects, including native planting, new trail development and maintenance, outdoor classroom construction, invasive plant species removal, acreage expansion, and general operations and maintenance. They also will receive job-readiness skills instruction, including help with resume writing, interview skills and personal finance management.
“This initiative helps Detroit youth gain unique and marketable skills in a city where overall unemployment is very high,” said Devon Buskin, workforce development director for The Greening of Detroit. “The Greening is committed to providing green work force training to Detroit residents, and introducing and promoting environmental stewardship in their communities.”
CLC participants were selected from more than 550 applicants based on their successful completion of a three-step, two-month tryout process. Student candidates were assessed on work ethic, leadership ability, civic engagement and commitment to the environment.
“This summer I’m looking forward to gaining a new sense of pride for my community and the city of Detroit as a whole,” said Michaela Covington, a 17-year-old CLC and Student Conservation Association member. “It’s clear that positive change is continuing in our city and I am proud to be part of it.”
On Aug. 1, Johnson Controls employees will learn from the students as they volunteer to work in the field alongside the CLC teams at several Detroit-area locations for an environmental learning experience. Activities will include planting, developing and maintaining trails, and removing invasive plant species.
On Aug. 10, the students will participate in a professional development day — hosted by Johnson Controls’ Automotive Experience business in Plymouth — where they will learn the importance of sustainability, energy efficiency and renewable resources in the fields of automotive interior design and engineering, building efficiency and hybrid battery technology.
Career-focused information from each of Johnson Controls’ businesses — Automotive Experience, Building Efficiency and Power Solutions — will be presented.
The program will culminate in a graduation ceremony on Aug. 17 at Belle Isle Park, where the CLC students, crew leaders and community partners will acknowledge and present awards to the CLC teams.
Additional support for the program is being provided by: the City of Detroit; DTE Energy Foundation; Growing Young Detroit Talent; PNC Bank and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.