UFOR Workforce Development Program

Urban Forestry Career Pathways

Growing Skills in Urban Forestry

Urban Forestry Career Pathways (UFOR) is a job training program for people who want to enter the green workforce. Employers are hiring workers for urban forestry, greenspace maintenance, environmental conservation, sustainable infrastructure projects, and more. UFOR is a starting point for young adults to acquire entry level urban forestry skills, learn how to apply for green jobs, and practice basic money management.

Who should apply. Applicants ages 18 to 30 who reside in a CEJST community are encouraged to apply. CEJST areas are environmentally vulnerable areas in metro Atlanta, including south, southwest, west, and northwest Atlanta neighborhoods. Explore the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST) areas by address.

When does it start? UFOR training classes begin every 3 months. Small groups of ten trainees will be selected for each training class.

What’s included? Trainees will receive ten weeks of paid on-the-job training, focusing on fundamental tree care and maintenance skills, such as structural pruning, proper watering, and mulching. Skills curriculum will change based on the season.

Trainees will also receive coaching to increase financial fluency (such as, how to open and manage a bank account, save, invest, etc.) and gain practical job search skills helping them secure new careers in urban forestry and other green jobs. To assist in transportation costs, trainees will qualify for free MARTA passes.

The Urban Forestry Career Pathways program is funded as part of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022, the single largest investment in climate and energy in American history. Trees Atlanta’s proposal to create a workforce development and tree planting program in metro Atlanta area CEJST communities was selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service, through its Urban and Community Forestry Program.

The Urban Forestry Career Pathways program is a collaboration of these Atlanta-based nonprofit organizations with proven track records working with diverse populations in communities with high need for environmental repair, greater sustainability, and workforce development. Each of these partners are equal opportunity providers and employers.

  • Trees Atlanta: Grant holder, urban forestry expert and skills training, training sites coordination, program management and oversight, outreach and community engagement
  • Greening Youth Foundation – Workforce recruitment and training, job search skills training, personnel management, outreach and community engagement
  • Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.Project coordination, workforce strategy, reporting, outcomes tracking and evaluation, employer opportunities, outreach and community engagement
  • On the Rise Community Development Center – Financial education

The Urban Forestry Career Pathways (UFOR) program is funded through a multi-year grant as part of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022, the single largest investment in climate and energy in American history. The grant aims to increase workforce development for urban and community forestry and address tree equity in the city’s most environmentally vulnerable communities in areas identified by the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST). The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, through its Urban and Community Forestry Program, selected Trees Atlanta’s proposal to create a workforce development and tree planting program in metro Atlanta area CEJST communities. USDA, Trees Atlanta, Greening Youth Foundation, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., and On the Rise Community Development Center are equal opportunity providers and employers. 

Trees Atlanta is working with local community partners and nonprofit organizations to fulfill the goals of the program. This project is one of nearly 400 projects awarded by the Forest Service to plant and maintain trees, combat extreme heat and climate change, improve access to nature, and expand workforce development in population centers in every state and territory in the United States. The project meets Justice40 goals for urban areas, which means that it will benefit disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution and environmental injustices, including nature loss and access to the benefits of trees.