Since 2009, Growing Excellence in Marin has provided short term on the job training for ICS clients in a unique garden setting. GEM is our horticulture training program that allows clients build the skills and tools needed to enter the competitive workforce. GEM participants build hard skills in horticulture, but more importantly, they hone their soft skills such as teamwork, dependability, following instructions, customer service and time management. At any given time GEM has ten active clients, with four to five on site each day.
Over the years GEM has undergone many changes, always adapting to ensure that we are providing the most relevant and useful services for our clients. To this end, GEM recently created a new position, Peer Coach, to better support participants as they grow and learn in the program. The requirements for the position of Peer Coach included being a GEM graduate who excelled in the technical skills of horticulture, but also proved their aptitude as a leader and teacher.
Casey was a GEM participant for 5 months, and repeatedly impressed the GEM managers with his interest in the program and the ease with which he mentored his peers. Casey was offered the position of part time Peer Coach, and he now supports the GEM management team with instructing and supervising participants. This role is so beneficial because it provides a relatable mentor to current participants, as well as reminds clients of the great jobs that can come after graduating from GEM. Casey has been an excellent addition to ICS staff, and is a testament to the success of our GEM graduates, as well as the program itself.
"I get to work with great staff who work very hard to provide the best service they can, helping clients build the job skills needed to prepare them for future employment.
I feel like I'm part of the ICS team, and it helps build my confidence and to be part of the community. Having gone through the program allows me to relate to the people who are in it now. I also have a disability, so I'm grateful to have the opportunity to help others overcome similar challenges."
- Casey, GEM Peer Coach
To learn more about GEM, visit our GEM program page, or come visit us at the Corte Madera Farmer's Market every Wednesday from 12-5pm.