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Growing Power, Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board: Thirteen Milwaukee youth graduate from Growing Power’s food systems specialist job training program

Growing Power and the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board honor the First Class of Graduates who completed the Twelve Months of Job Training With a Certificate of Achievement

MILWAUKEE [October 25, 2011] – Growing Power and the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board proudly announces the graduation of 13 young people who recently completed twelve months Growing Power’s “Food Systems Specialist” 12 month job training program.

“We are truly proud of this first class of graduates,” said Will Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power. “They worked hard over the past year and deserve recognition for their achievements in hoop-house construction and urban sustainable food systems development.”

Growing Power’s program teaches older youth the skills to succeed in the growing field of urban sustainable agriculture. The group completed the program this October. Allen will present them with certificates of achievement in a graduation ceremony on October 26, 2011 at 10:00 AM at the Growing Power Community Food Center.

As part of their job training, the youth constructed more than 20 hoop-houses and contributed to the local production of over 150,000 pounds of food that was distributed through Growing Power’s Rainbow Farmers Cooperative to stores, restaurants and Milwaukee families via the Farm-to-City Market Basket program.

"The best way to ensure youth become successful in tomorrow’s workforce is to make sure they have meaningful work experiences. Across the region there is an increasing focus on connecting our economic future to food production, and for these youth the opportunity to work at Growing Power and develop an understanding of Urban Agriculture and food production systems links directly to these efforts," said Don Sykes, President/CEO of the MAWIB.

Growing Power will offer full-time employment to all of the graduates. Those who choose to stay with Growing Power will serve as peer mentors to the next group of job trainees. Earlier this year, Growing Power received a grant from the City of Milwaukee to hire more than 100 people over the next two years in an effort to combat the continued unemployment crisis, which has been as high as 50% for African-American men in the last decade. The increased local food production will also improve food security for Milwaukee families and revitalize neighborhoods throughout the city.

Note to Editors: The press is invited to the Graduation Ceremony at the Growing Power Community Food Center in Milwaukee, WI. Will Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power and Donald Sykes, President of the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board will be present to honor the 13 graduates.

DATE: October 26, 2011

TIME: 10:00 AM CST

LOCATION: 5500 W. Silver Spring Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53218

About Growing Power

Growing Power was started in Milwaukee, Wis., in 1993 by Will Allen, a 2008 winner of a MacArthur “Genius Award” who has long worked to produce and deliver healthy food to low-income communities. It is a national nonprofit organization and land trust supporting people from diverse backgrounds, and the environments in which they live, by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities. Growing Power implements this mission by providing hands-on training, on-the-ground demonstration, outreach and technical assistance through the development of Community Food Systems that help people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner. Their vision is to inspire communities to build sustainable food systems that are equitable and ecologically sound, creating a just world, one food-secure community at a time

About Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board

The Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board's mission is to build a strong workforce development system by planning, coordinating, collaborating and monitoring workforce initiatives. In partnership with businesses, state & local government, foundations and community organizations the MAWIB builds programs and develops strategies to ensure a skilled and productive workforce for the 21st Century.

MAWIB programs are built to serve the entire community including youth, adults, dislocated workers, disabled individuals, incumbent workers, older workers, and individuals with issues related to poverty, substance abuse, lack of education, and other significant barriers to employment. The organization is focused on development/ coordination of key partnerships, alignment/leveraging of public and private funding streams, and creating innovative, performance-based programs. The MAWIB, established in 1989, is the largest workforce investment board in the state of Wisconsin and serves the most diverse racial and economic area in the state.

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Media Contacts:

Growing Power: Susie Falk: 414.232.2562

Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board Mark Kessenich: 414.270.1773

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