Landscape job training at work in Dallas
The Salvation Army in Dallas, Texas, launched a new commercial landscape management business to help companies keep their facilities looking sharp while also providing jobs, training, counseling and income for people who would otherwise be unemployed.
The Socially Responsible Landscape Management Company has two crews of 12 workers who live at a Salvation Army homeless shelter where they are trained in lawn mowing, sprinkler installation and repair.
“The workers are overcoming many barriers to employment, including the very fact that they are homeless,” said Donnie Freeman, social enterprise manager for The Salvation Army Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex Command. “Some have had issues with drug and alcohol abuse, and even though they’ve completed treatment, the stigma remains.”
A professional lawn care supervisor trains each employee to gain experience and self-sufficiency so he or she can move onto other full-time work.
“By working on a landscaping crew and proving they are reliable, they become eligible to receive letters of recommendation and assistance in attaining full-time employment,” Freeman said.
The entire project was funded by donations from local advisory board members, who helped purchase equipment and find management. The company is working to add more jobs, in hopes of providing employment for a greater number of homeless individuals in Dallas.