Workforce Development

According to the USDA, the average farmer in America is 59 years old and increasing. 70% of American farmland is owned by people aged 65 and older. We recognize the need to inspire the next generation of American Farmers, and provide training and skills to those interested in transitioning to a career in the local foods industry.

Our programming works with both k-12 youth,and adult students in the region and has attracted national attention. We were listed in the top 30 educational farms in the country in 2015 by College Values and remain closely affiliated with Oberlin College, Baldwin Wallace, Lorain County Community College, and Case Western Reserve University. Since 2001, the NAC has graduated 16 students through our Farm Apprentice program and employed more than 60 students through Federal Workstudy, Bonner Center for Service and Learning, Oberlin College Dining Services, and Oberlin College Environmental Studies Department. More than 800 students throughout the country participate in workshops and other educational activities at the farm each year and we are actively working to create a regional partnership between non-profit and for-profit agencies around workforce development of the agriculture and local foods industry at its core.

For the 2016 season, we have been awarded the President’s Public Service Fellowship and are a partner with the Summer Youth Employment Program managed by the City of Oberlin.

We are actively engaging local food-sector business to forge meaningful partnerships, identify skills and certifications they value and begin tracking metrics relating to those qualities and behaviors most desired.

Employing teens to learn and work within the agriculture and local food sector to get a broad understanding of the industry and providing practical experience working within a variety of spheres within the industry is our chief strategy. The goal is to assist in job-placement with area agencies for students ready to enter the workforce.