Since its inception, the Cooperative Extension Service has served community needs as they grow and change. Recently the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDOC) and Clemson Extension partnered to bring a crucial job skills training to inmates that are within one year of scheduled release. The program provides training to persons wishing to rehabilitate themselves and provides skilled labor to a growing labor market deficiency in South Carolina’s green industry.
The SCDOC recruited 40 inmates to participate in the South Carolina Certified Landscape Professional Program. The course lasted ten weeks, and participants received instruction in basic horticultural skills such as soil conditioning, weed management, turf grass management, and integrated pest management concepts to reduce pesticide use. There was a total of four sites that participated via zoom to observe the lectures. Most participants were engaged and asked multiple questions, including how this certification can help them to find gainful employment. The project was funded by an internal grant from Clemson University Cooperative Extension. We are working with SCDOC to seek grant opportunities to sustain the project and offer it to a broader inmate audience.
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