Hi, my name is Arabie Jaloway. I’m an environment and sustainability consultant currently working with a sustainability committee sponsored by the Pierce County, WA WorkForce Development Council (WDC). I am responsible for assisting the committee with “sustainable workforce development.” I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what a hall of mirrors discussing sustainability with industry and politicos can be, but the group has made some progress on recognizing that business as usual cannot continue and have directed me to explore new directions for workforce training.
Two months ago, I started the wheels turning on an application for a small amount of public funding ($35,000) for the WDC’s work (The money is federal, but granted through the Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board- WTECB).
I chose to apply for these funds in concert with our county’s sole Permaculture provider, an extremely bright and capable young woman named Kelda Miller, who runs the Divine Earth Garden Project. If awarded, 2/3 of the money will go directly to her company to support training through her permaculture design certification course.
I won’t bore you with the details of what happens when the concept of permaculture meets a bureaucracy still holding on to the notion that “Growth will fix everything,” and very unwilling to consider the possibility that economic and workforce development need to change tack.... but it’s been an interesting ride. Thanks in large part to the competence of Kelda and her network of support, however, we’ve shot the rapids and it looks like we will be able to secure this funding (after many requests for more information and justification, of course! )
There is one last snag, and that’s where you come in.
The money we’ve applied for is WIA (workforce investment act) money, and the WTECB (the grantors) say we need to provide some information on previous permaculture training outcomes. They’re hopping to get folks off of the unemployment rolls, so if we can demonstrate that permaculture, without any other advanced training, is a viable means to get people employed, we’re good.
It is also valuable if we can demonstrate that permaculture helps people get better jobs/ improve demand for their talents.
The problem is that most permaculture trainers don’t bother with spreadsheets and columns of numbers to track employment outcomes and other WIA-type data. I’ve created a survey that covers what we need- if you could please distribute it to any students you have contact info for and explain the need, it would of immeasurable help to us.
Our county is not what you’d call environmentally progressive- getting public support for permaculture would be a much bigger win than the money for us. Please help us if you can by getting this survey out to any and everyone that you know whose taken permaculture training.
It is nice to see Pc folks thinking about how their training structure might best support people in finding durable and sustained economic vehicles during challenging times. Enterprise for Equity is another great model a little to the south.
Makes me think, that if your goal of putting on a PDC is to help people with building economic sovereignty, that you would observe outcomes in their lives just as if you were planting a garden, and wanting to learn what works (regardless if you use a spreadsheet or not). How else could we be confident that PDCs provide for that outcome better than alternative approaches? Does a PDC include skills assessments and goal setting for participants? Coaching? I'd love to see your proposal at some point in time.
It seems there is an unexplored potential relationship between Pc site design and new LID requirements, spearheaded by Curtis Hinman, also in Puyallup.
Paul Cereghino- Stewardship Institute Maritime Temperate Coniferous Rainforest - Mild Wet Winter, Dry Summer
I'll keep the whole community posted. Our proposal right now (though it's been changing) is to partner with WSU Extension and the county WorkForce Board to do extensive surveying of who takes the classes, previous skillset, what they get out of it, and what kind of jobs they get.
Also I do know Curtis, he's great! At our last PDC we installed a raingarden a la his manual. With the kind of moneys/legitimacy with this grant than we could have more clout when asking him and other professionals to spend time speaking to our group. Good suggestion!