Union Miles Development Corporation has developed a program that supports entrepreneurship and job creation for Green Jobs. Union Miles Agriculture& Green landscaping Incubator(UMAG) has train individuals to be successful landscapers, not only providing services within the Ward 2 but City wide. This program has been in existence now for 2 years.
This is an 8 week curriculum based program that also has hands on training. After participants graduate program, they are able to apply to contract with UMDC to provide grass cutting for Ward 2 area cutting vacant lots, vacant structures and landscaping some of UMDC properties. Thus far we have 40 graduates, out of that number, 32 are residents of the community. Currently 4 graduates are now certified instructors for the 8 week curriculum.
U-Mag has provided individuals opportunities for self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship within the landscaping field as well as green occupations. The majority of the members live in the Union Miles community whereas 25. 97 % of the residents live below poverty. Studies show that when income increases crime decreases; and U-Mag has increased employment. U-Mag has created jobs because as landscapers learn how to expand their business via the 8 week curriculum; they have been able to hire more employees. Also as landscapers increase their revenues they are able to use their purchase/buying power within their own community —keeping the dollars within the Union Miles community as well as the City of Cleveland. Cuyahoga Community College has a landscaping program; however, per meeting
With our existing landscapers none of them received their education through Cuyahoga Community College. Many of our landscapers are not prepared for college for a variety of financial and social factors; however, per the needs assessment survey that was conducted at implementation of program
The majority of participants have been available to attend an 8 week program that is community based; and they have been excited about expanding their business & increasing their revenue. Our landscapers received their landscaping skills from a family member or neighbor who cared enough to educate them about the proper way to manicure a lawn.
One of our goals via U-Mag is to provide disenfranchised individuals with professional skills and expand their landscaping and business development education beyond their current skill level to encourage business growth and sustainability. One of our landscapers said it took him 3 years before he was able to buy his first lawnmower; and many others said they had to put money aside here and there to start their own landscaping business. Per the needs assessment, the landscapers indicated that commercial lenders were not open to lending funds for landscaping equipment such as high powered lawn mowers that cost up to $6,000. Per our partnership with Economic Community Development Institute ECDI and US Bank, U-Mag will be a one stop business development hub that assists the landscapers with an array of financial resources similar to a micro enterprise. Our agency also has a partnership with Cuyahoga Community College; because to date they do not have job referral or Co-op program for their landscaping students or graduates. U-Mag will provide employment for CCC landscaping graduates and alumni.
The cost is $125.00 for individuals seeking to teach courses for 8 weeks and $90.00 for individuals seeking a basic 4 week certificate. Scholarships are available for individuals that can demonstrate financial hardship. For students that receive a scholarship it’s mandatory to complete 70 hours of volunteer hours as assigned by UMDC. Volunteer assignments are related to lawn care for senior citizens, community garden assistance, and development of green spaces. All graduates of UMAG must provide volunteer hours within the community that are assigned by UMDC.
UMDC is not aware of a Landscaping Incubator similar to U-Mag in the City of Cleveland. However, our existing program continues to grow and we are excited about seeing U-Mag replicated throughout the City of Cleveland.