GOSOWorks Employer Partner Spotlight: The Hort

GOSO Guys and Hort interns, Santino G. (left), and Taariq K.

Through our employment program, GOSOWorks, we’re fortunate to partner with more than 80 employers across the city. Our employer partners provide GOSO participants with paid internships, which can become full-time job opportunities.

This month, we are spotlighting our friends at The Horticultural Society of New York (the Hort), who we’ve partnered with for the past six years. We honored the Hort as our Employer of the Year in 2018 to recognize them as an outstanding partner committed to working with GOSO Guys as they develop invaluable professional skills.

While working on Hort’s GreenTeam, GOSO Guys engage in different types of outdoor projects. Whether they’re planting in a plaza or along a street, the goal is to beautify urban spaces and increase exposure to plants, creating a healthier environment for New Yorkers. Oftentimes, our participants also help to install and maintain gardens in supportive housing facilities and schools with the added goal of creating an escape and an educational space for students and residents.

Hannah Heyman, the Horticulture and Workforce Manager at Hort, who works with our participants on a daily basis, shared her thoughts on our partnership:

“Our favorite thing about working with GOSO Guys is their willingness to put their all into their work. They’re able to make the workplace more lively and interesting, while still staying productive. Many participants from GOSO have strong work ethics and good attitudes. They are dedicated to the work and set an example for their fellow team members.”

Hannah believes that internships with Hort have successful outcomes because of the skills that people can obtain through the work.

The finished roadside planting at Riverbank State Park.

“We hope people come away with horticultural skills first and foremost: planting, weeding, mulching, pruning, and more. It’s an introduction to working in the outdoors and learning to not be afraid of getting dirty. GOSO Guys also learn how to put in a full 8 hours of work a day, how to communicate clearly and professionally with an employer, how to maintain a complex work schedule, and how to manage their time,” said Hannah.

GOSO participant, Robert G. has gotten a lot out of his internship at Hort so far: “Working at Hort is great because I get to work in a peaceful setting with people that I like. It’s a real team effort — I’ve learned it’s important to work well with others to get the job done. You have to communicate.”

Robert and his peers Santino G. and Taariq K. have all been interning at Hort over the summer. They will also each be taking the Civil Service Garderner’s Exam through Hort in a few weeks, which can open up doors for a career in the industry.

“While working at Hort, I have learned to take charge if I notice that one of my colleagues needs help. I’m learning to be a leader. I see Hort as an opportunity to work with others, the same way that staff at GOSO does. I’ve always wanted to mentor and work with young kids, and this is giving me the chance to start stepping up and lending a hand,” said Santino G.

The staff at Hort are incredibly supportive of our interns, and see success for them in the future:
“We hope from this experience, they gain a lot of pride in their work. The GreenTeam works really hard everyday, in all kinds of conditions  to transform spaces in the city. Often we can see the transformation from the start of the day to the end, but sometimes it’s less obvious. We also hope they come away feeling confident to pursue a career in horticulture or any career, knowing they can take on new challenges.”
Thank you to the team at Hort for being an incredible GOSOWorks partner, and we look forward to many more years of working together!

Here are some of the members from Hort’s GreenTeam! GOSO Guys, Robert G. and Taariq K. (both on right) with Hort’s Assistant Manager of the GreenTeam, Jeremy Jungles (left) and their Horticulture and Workforce Manager, Hannah Heyman (center).