The Job Experience and Training (JET) program is a work-based learning program that is part of the comprehensive 4-H youth development program at Adventure Central, an urban education center in Dayton, Ohio. To address concerns that youth lack the skills essential for job success and are entering the workplace unprepared, Extension educators at Adventure Central created the JET program, a work-based learning program for teens. JET is conducted over a six-month period, culminating in an eight-week summer work experience in collaboration with a local park district. Supervisors and teens complete a performance appraisal measure based on 21st century skills at two points during the program.
Both teens and supervisors provide written comments addressing teens’ strengths and areas for growth, as well as comments on their satisfaction with the program itself. Overall, the experience appears to have produced improvements in teens’ workforce skills, as evidenced by their own self-assessment and that of their supervisors.
Approximately 20 teens have been selected to participate in JET each year. Overall, the experience appears to have produced improvements in teens’ workforce skills, as evidenced by their own self-assessment and that of their supervisors. While not all participants improved in the same areas or to the same degree, many areas of improvement noted by teens and supervisors were strengthened by the end of the program. Gains most frequently reported by supervisors were in the areas of meeting deadlines, teamwork, and problem-solving.
***JET was recognized as a Program of Distinction by the National 4-H Headquarters in 2008. Programs of Distinction is a recognition program that highlights high quality youth development programs within Cooperative Extension occurring in communities across the United States.
To learn more about Programs of Distinction, please visit the
National 4-H headquarters website:
Greene County Extension
Yellow Springs, OH
Friends Care Garden is an intergenerational garden at a nursing home facility in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The nursing home has a permanent, on-going 1/8 acre garden and greenhouse on its premises. The garden provided twelve middle and high school youth aged 12-17 an opportunity to learn workforce preparation skills in an experiential hands-on setting. It incorporated intergenerational interaction among youth, senior citizens and adult garden mentors as well as a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Youth participated over a five-month period from April through early September, attending one day per week in April and May and two days per week beginning in June. Tasks included planting, maintaining the garden, harvesting, packaging produce together with the elders, and delivering produce to CSA customers. Two adult coordinators provided supervision. In addition, the youth participated in several garden-based community service projects. Youth received up to $250 for participation in the program, which they received through biweekly paychecks.
Adventure Central and Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark
The City Beets program brought together 15 urban and suburban youth age 12-16 from Montgomery County to explore agriculture and learn the skills needed to achieve success in the working world. Throughout the eight week summer program, City Beets teens cultivated over 3,000 ft² of garden area and harvested 12 different types of produce to sell at the 2nd Street Public Market; they also donated 14 pounds of produce to a local food bank. Work and learning sessions were held twice a week during the program with learning sessions focusing on food preparation, conflict resolution, and leadership development. A special program ending trip to one of Heifer International’s Global Villages helped participants learn about global food systems. Youth received $200 in gift cards for their participation in the program.
To view an evaluation report of the Friends Care Garden and City Beets programs visit Sauder Grant Gardening Work-Based Learning Summary 2007