Youth Empowerment & Employment Program

In 1986, philosopher Pierre Bourdieu found that financial capital is influenced by cultural, human, and social capital. In order to stop reproducing societal inequalities, we must equalize these three types of capital across all populations. Our Youth Empowerment & Employment Program is designed to enhanced all three types of capital, so that graduates of our program have a better chance of reaching their goals.

The combination of these three types of capital help explain why some people enter well-paying and safe jobs, while others don’t.

Cultural Capital: The ability to relate to and feel comfortable with those in charge. We acquire cultural capital from our family and upbringing; the languages we speak, our ethnicity, foods we prefer to eat, preferred leisure activities, etc. If one does not grow up with similar cultural capital as their future boss, it takes time to learn this type of capital. Unfortunately, employers tend to hire people with their type of cultural capital, because they feel more comfortable around them.

Human Capital: An employee’s skill-set – AKA – resume builders. What are your marketable skills? What is your training or degree in?

Social Capital: Who do you know? As many people claim, it’s not what you know, but who you know! Do you have family connections for a job or internship? Will your previous employer provide a good reference? Are you well-liked by your wealthy community so you can raise money to travel?

The Growing Alliances Youth Empowerment & Employment Program brings together youth from ages 16-21 of diverse backgrounds but who have the common experience of foster care or homelessness. The goal of our youth employment program is to facilitate the growth of food, skills, and community.

Grow FOOD:

  • Grow food to donate to those who need it

  • Learn to grow food organically for yourself and community

  • Learn plant identification

  • Learn horticulture, biology and soil science

  • Take weekly workshops on the history, politics and economics of the U.S. food system in order to determine the cause of high rates of malnutrition in the United States.


  • Professional Communication

  • Public Speaking

  • Resume building

  • Leadership

  • Event Planning

  • Budgeting

  • Be able to set and accomplish measurable goals

  • Nurture passion


  • Build working relationships with staff, coworkers, and community partners

    • Clear and healthy communication

    • Create trust among team

    • Create friendships with coworkers

  • Build professional network

    • Participate in networking events

    • Meet with influential people in their field of interest

  •  Support community

    • How can we support/improve our community?

  • Environmental Stewardship

What Will We Be Doing?

Our six-month program is divided into two three-month terms. Our first term will go from April 4th – June 21st, during which our youth employees will work two days a week for a total of 5 hours on our urban farm at 1815 Ellis St. growing food to donate, sell and cook for themselves. Our youth employees, AKA Crew Members, will simultaneously participate in weekly workshops on job skills and on the history, economics and politics of the U.S. food system. The first term focuses on the health and social implications and movements of the U.S. food system.

The second term, which starts when school releases for the summer, will go from June 26th – September 13th. During the summer our crew meets three days a week, for a total of 12 hours a week. During this time, our crew continues to learn skills they can use in future jobs, as well as lessons on the food system. This term focuses on the environmental implications and movements of the current food system.

The Garden Crew participates in weekly workshops on job skills, business development, and emotional vitality. Our Program Manager leads the crew to build and implement a business model to create revenue from a service or product our farm can provide.

Each Crew Member meets with staff to discuss their career and/or academic goals. Our staff then work to introduce each Crew Member to influential people in each youth’s field of interest. If their interests align with any of the needs of Growing Alliances, we offer them a Youth Internship within the organization. Youth Positions are supervised paid internships within the organization’s administration, where youth employees can have an impact on the marketing, budgeting, or development of the organization.

After completing one season with Growing Alliances, Crew Members are eligible for a promotion to garden manager, which includes a pay raise and increased responsibility.

Interested in learning more about the Youth Empowerment & Employment Program? Visit our Application Page.

We start accepting applications March 7 for the first season and will start interviews March 15. To apply, email a cover letter introducing yourself, why you are interested in the job and any past work or volunteer experience you’ve had.

Please email us at to apply or for questions.