Adult Urban Forestry & Restoration Training Program

A Workforce Development Program supporting historically-underrepresented communities in the Portland-Metro Region

Program Highlights

  • 10-week paid training & internship program designed to increase career opportunities for historically-underrepresented communities in the urban forestry and natural area restoration fields. 
  • Supported by the community: We are proud to work with APANO, the Black Parent Initiative, POIC, Verde, and Wisdom of the Elders as program partners.
  • Workforce development that works: Four students of this program have received full-time job offers in the environmental field as a direct result of completing this program.
  • Grow with us: We are currently seeking new and diverse project partners, Community Business Organizations, and funders to ensure this pilot program has the financial stability to succeed as a permanent part of the Friends of Trees program offering.

First implemented in 2018, the Adult Urban Forestry & Restoration Training & Internship program (AUF) is a job-training opportunity through Friends of Trees and partner organizations, based in Portland, OR and serving the Portland-Metro region. This program’s mission is to support historically-underrepresented communities in the fields of urban forestry and natural area restoration. Friends of Trees and its partners accomplish this through classroom education, professional networking, and increasing access to a career path in the environmental field. 

The participants in the AUF program have varied interest and experience in the urban forestry and restoration fields and range from individuals just getting started to seasoned professionals looking for a more sustainable career. 

The AUF program helps participants gain more technical knowledge about different environmental fields and pathways to future employment; as well as network with professionals established in the field. 

This program includes ten weeks of paid training where participants learn about the diverse range of professional career paths and fields within urban forestry and restoration. During this ten-week period, panels of professionals from local municipalities, non-profit agencies, and private tree care businesses present on their field and share insights from their own professional journey. After the training sessions, participants are matched with internships at host sites across the Metro area to gain on-site work experience and build professional connections with local leaders in the field. 

Student recruitment for this program is open to our Community Benefit Organization partners: APANO (Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon), Black Parent Initiative, POIC (Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center), Verde, and Wisdom of the Elders. 

The staff at our partner organizations are critical to the success of this program. As such, our program budget includes compensation for at least one staff member who is committed to recruiting participants from the communities they serve, communicating program expectations, and handing-off communication to Friends of Trees staff. If you’d like to become a program partner, please contact Rudy Roquemore // [email protected] for more information.

Workforce development can be a tool to build equity within our communities by building financial security through living wage jobs. Many people of color are already in the environmental field, but many are in low wage jobs with few promotion opportunities. It is challenging to transition from a maintenance worker to a higher paid position without having the skill-set or having previous work experience. There are structural barriers to keep people within certain classes of employment — and environmental fields are no exemption. Friends of Trees believes that everyone should have access to the benefits of trees; one of those benefits is getting paid to take care of them. Taking care of urban forests and green spaces should be professions accessible to everyone, and Friends of Trees is committed to decreasing structural barriers in order to uplift our communities.

There are a variety of ways that you can support the work of this program:

  • Become an AUF Project Partner: Are you an employer that is interested in hiring trained employee candidates? Are you an organization that seeks to provide sustainable workforce development opportunities for your community? We would love to see how we can work together.
  • Grant or Foundation Support: Does your foundation or organization support this type of work through grants? We would be delighted to hear from you!
  • Make a Personal Donation: Your individual contribution will ensure that students and staff can continue to build on the success of this program. Donate HERE.
  • Fluent in Multiple Languages? We are in need of additional multilingual support. If you would like to help by providing interpretation and translating services, we could use your help!

Program Contact: Please email Rudy Roquemore // [email protected] if you have any questions about this program!