Delaware Center for Horticulture's Branches to Chances (BtC): A Return to Work Program provides economic opportunities and empowers low-to-moderate income persons to achieve self-sufficiency. Through direct services, BtC hires and trains unemployed, underemployed, and previously incarcerated individuals for entry-level positions in the horticulture industry. Upon successful completion of the program, BtC participants will have knowledge, skills, and experience in job readiness, personal finance, and horticulture. As of December 2018, 73 men and women successfully completed BTC training, and an encouraging two-thirds of the graduates went on to secure employment.
BtC graduates obtain marketable knowledge and skills in a flourishing industry, making our participants more appealing to local employers. Graduates leave the program with hands-on experience, as well as the knowledge comparable to an introductory-level horticulture class, including basic botany, plant identification, and nomenclature. Instructors also provide life skills training like financial literacy and job readiness training, including writing cover letters, job searching, resume writing, interview skills, and professionalism.
In the field, participants get hands-on experience with container trees planting, basic tree care and pruning, public landscape installation and maintenance techniques, and raised bed building and community garden installation and care. Field work takes the BtC trainees into their own neighborhoods, where they model the positive personal impact of working and acquiring marketable skills to beautify their own communities, which builds self-confidence and infuses a sense of pride from positive interactions with neighbors, community activists, potential employers, and volunteers.