Arthur & Friends will serve as lead oversight managers and operators of the proposed greenhouse project, including the commercial, training, educational, and staffing elements of the project.
Arthur & Friends will assist in identifying qualified staff to work with and train traditionally difficult-to-employ individuals at LetUsConnect Farm, as well as provide public education opportunities. The primary endeavor of Arthur & Friends will to train the LetUsConnect Farm staff and consumers through the Arthur & Friends Training Curriculum®. This award-winning program represents an opportunity for these individuals to increase and improve their employment opportunities; learn and master life skills as well as work skills; utilize their potential to contribute rather than discounting them on the basis of stereotypes or generalizations about their "limitations"; achieve economic self-sufficiency; and attain fuller access to, and participation in, their communities. The ultimate goal of the training protocol is to integrate difficult-to-employ and mainstream trainees for a more realistic experience that allows both groups to learn, develop, and work together successfully.
LetUsConnect Farm will implement a four-part 200-hour training program to help adult learners understand and master the art of hydroponic farming. Individuals who successfully complete all four stages of the learning program and demonstrate a good grasp of the production process, will have the option of undertaking a role as either a trainer or a supervisor of the greenhouse farm. The four-tier program is as follows:
This stage teaches adult learners how to properly plant and care for hydroponically grown lettuce beginning from the propagation phase all the way through final harvesting.
The program further develops adult learners’ skills by introducing them to various aspects of production, including filling orders, crop selection, packaging, and shipment to customers.
During this phase, adult learners will be introduced to the concept of online sales where lettuce grown by LetUsConnect Farm will be offered to customers via the internet. This stage will offer insight into the electronic processing of orders, customer service, and basic financial management techniques.
The last part of the training program will focus on personally working with each adult learner to prepare them for interviews, paid internships, and full-time / part-time employment opportunities upon completion of the 200-hour program.