About Us

Our mission is to connect youth and adults from communities with high rates of poverty and unemployment to environmental careers and post-secondary education. We do this by producing an empowering environmental literacy and job readiness curriculum, called Roots of Success, that helps education and workforce programs prepare youth and adults with barriers to employment access for environmental jobs and career pathways in multiple sectors of the economy.

We seek to address two of the most pressing issues of our time – poverty and ecological destruction. The issues may appear different, but there is a single solution: provide people with pathways out of poverty by preparing them for living-wage jobs that improve environmental quality.

Roots of Success was created by Dr. Raquel Pinderhughes, Professor of Urban Studies & Planning at San Francisco State University and an internationally recognized expert on the green economy and green workforce training. The curriculum is informed by Raquel’s decades of experience working with and teaching underserved populations and, in-depth research with employers in 21 sectors of the green economy.

Roots of Success responds to the need to create living wage jobs and career pathways for residents in communities with high rates of poverty and unemployment and to promote sustainable development. We do this by strengthening core academic skills, increasing people’s understanding of environmental problems and solutions, preparing them for jobs and career pathways in multiple sectors of the economy and, to improve conditions in their communities. Our focus is on student success, making learning relevant, building on prior experiences, and connecting education to employment.

We focus on the green economy because it is one of the fastest growing economic sectors, provides workers in entry-level jobs with higher wages, better benefits, and greater occupational mobility than entry-level jobs in other sectors, and because the people we serve come from communities heavily impacted by environmental problems.

Roots of Success is used by high schools, youth programs, community colleges, job training programs, re-entry programs, libraries, prisons, jails, juvenile facilities, community based organizations, and government agencies.

Instructors are trained to use teaching methods and materials that integrate classroom discussions with videos, visuals, group activities, oral presentations, and professional development exercises to keep participants engaged and increase their understanding of environmental problems, solutions, and green jobs while strengthening basic academic and professional skills.