Youth Workforce Development

Youth Workforce Development:
Chi-Lights Farm Corps

The Youth Workforce Development program provides high school youth in the Near North neighborhood and surrounding communities with the skills to grow fresh produce for themselves and others, transferable job skills, and insight to how food and food systems affect their daily lives.

Teens are onsite at the Urban Farm on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and learn all the techniques central to growing food and maintaining an urban farm (watering, seeding, pruning, harvesting, compost making, working with power tools, etc.), customer service skills, nutrition and cooking knowledge,  self-efficacy and responsibility, and job skills—resume writing and mock interviews.

They also attend workshops that ask them to look at their connection to food and the nutritional, political, and environmental perspectives of food production.

Youth Workforce Development is an After School Matters program, and teens are paid a stipend if selected.


Interested teens must attend a Chicago Public Schools high school.

Apply online at and email Associate Director Ben Jaffe at stating their interest.

Spring program begins in early March (apply in January-February); summer program begins in early July (apply April-June) ; fall program begins early October (apply August-September).

Assistant Grower Internship


The Chicago Lights Urban Farm’s Assistant Grower Internship is a ten-month (March–December), part-time paid opportunity that provides individuals ages 18-26 with barriers to employment with advanced job readiness and site-specific training.

Internships foster job-readiness skills (career preparation, knowledge of emerging industry needs, communication, critical thinking, decision-making, leadership, positive work habits) and on-site training (advanced urban agriculture techniques, crop planting and farm operations, market and wholesale account management, externship opportunities).


Applications for 2018 will be available later this year.

For more information about the Urban Farm Youth Workforce Development program, contact Ben Jaffe, Associate Director of Farm Operations and Workforce Development, at 312.252.3597 or