Featured Grant The Hustle

Jackson’s Yard Care workforce training program celebrates first graduation

A dream for the betterment of the community hit its first milestone as the inaugural cohort graduated from Jackson’s Yard Care’s new workforce development program.

On April 5, a graduation ceremony was held for the first graduates of Jackson’s Yard Care’s workforce development program. Founder Action Jackson envisioned the program to better the lives of people years ago, but after noticing the lack of preparedness of his own employees, he jumped to create a program to adequately train current and prospective landscapers.

“Instead of just thinking about myself, I thought about all the types of things that I had with the local landscaping world and one of the main things was bad workmanship,” Jackson said. “I say not only does this help the industry of landscaping, but it’s also going to help the community and provide job opportunities by providing a program.”

For 65 hours over four weeks, nine students learned the ins and outs of landscaping with specialization on heavy machinery and tools. Some, who worked in landscaping before, knew the work but were unfamiliar with using some of the equipment. Together, the students cycled through proper and safe use of 45 different pieces of equipment.

A heightened emphasis on safety was always on Jackson’s mind throughout the program. His motto throughout showing students how to handle equipment was “What do we do first? Ask questions,” as the groups repeated the answer back to him.

Action Jackson demonstrates equipment to trainees. Photo by Omar Waheed.

Sun Prairie Mayor Paul Esser and State Senator Melissa Agard joined to personally congratulate the graduates and present them with their certificates of completion and citations of commendation.

“This was an investment for us as individuals and investment in our community and investment in the greater economy,” Agard said. “My ask for you is not only to celebrate today the work that you put into this program… but think about how it is that you’re going to pay these gifts back to people in your lives in the future.”

The workforce development program was provided entirely for free for students and funded by Jackson’s Yard Care. Jackson took it upon himself to find an avenue to help the community through providing a path for adequate training and earning potential. In the initial meeting for the program back in February, he highlighted the financial disparities in Black communities across Madison and the country.

Jackson was also presented with an Innovation and Leadership award for the workforce development program from Badger Auto and Up Next Marketing.