Goochland County Public Schools’ efforts to connect students with work-based learning opportunities was on prominent display at Friday’s grand opening celebration of Greenswell Growers’ state-of-the-art hydroponics facility.
Greenswell’s partnership with GCPS includes assisting with curriculum development and providing students with real-world experiences. Addison Winston, a Goochland High School senior, interns at the company. “It’s really amazing what they’re doing because they’re finding new ways to integrate agriculture with modern technology,” Winston said at a recent School Board meeting. Her five-month internship has given her a front-row seat to the company’s efforts to open a facility that is expected to produce about 3.7 million pounds of leafy greens for distribution across the mid-Atlantic over the next 3 years, all with 95 percent less water consumption and carbon-neutral energy.
The GCPS Work-Based Learning program is comprised of school-coordinated workplace experiences that are related to students' career goals and/or interests, sometimes integrated with instruction, and performed in partnerships with local businesses and organizations. “This is a really great opportunity for students in Goochland,” Winston said at the School Board meeting. “My internship has helped me a lot in my college pursuits. My dream is that someone younger than me, a student, maybe a junior or sophomore, will look at what I’ve done and want to intern for the company as well.”
GCPS and Greenswell are working together to create engaging course work that will give each student academic and hands-on experiences meant to prepare them for careers of the future. Greenswell Growers has collaborated with GHS’s Career and Technical Education program to provide curricula that teaches students about Controlled Environmental Agriculture, marketing, operations and logistics, mechatronics, and culinary arts.
Greenswell Growers’ ribbon-cutting was attended by Governor Ralph Northam, U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger, and GCPS Superintendent Jeremy Raley, among other state and community representatives.