Job Openings >> Urban Agriculture Instructor
Urban Agriculture Instructor
Title:Urban Agriculture Instructor
Department:Agriculture Instruction

Position Summary

The Urban Agriculture Instructor serves as a leader of the innovative urban agriculture initiatives at the Gary Comer Youth Center. The ideal candidate will have a strong background and interest to engage diverse youth with their local environment and to develop opportunities for future leaders in areas such as community development, food access, environmental and social justice, along with broader STEM fields. This is full time year-round permanent position within a five-member urban agriculture department. The Urban Agriculture Instructor will develop hands-on, inquiry-based programs for middle and high schoolers to be implemented during in- school and out-of-school-time settings. The instructor will lead teens in work-readiness programs in urban agriculture, landscaping, agriculture-based social enterprises, and related green careers. The Instructor will work alongside teens and young adults in the GCYC network of sustainable outdoor learning environments, which include: a ¼ acre intensive rooftop garden; the Comer Campus, which includes an environmental education garden with woody plants, herbaceous perennials and a culinary garden; along with a 1.75-acre youth education garden featuring a fruit orchard, perennial beds, high tunnels and about 20,000 square feet of vegetable beds.


About the Gary Comer Youth Center

Having opened its doors in June 2006, the state-of-the-art Gary Comer Youth Center (GCYC) offers positive extracurricular alternatives in a welcoming and safe environment. The mission is to provide the support for all members to graduate from high school, prepared to pursue college and careers. Located on Chicago’s South Side, the Gary Comer Youth Center draws its primary membership from the Greater Grand Crossing Community, and Gary Comer College Prep and Middle School.
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Essential Functions and Responsibilities


  • Understand and support the GCYC mission.
  • Understand and adapt to changes in the strategic and/or operational direction of the organization.
  • Abide by the employee handbook and established GCYC policies and procedures.
  • Work collaboratively in a team setting serving the needs of youth.
  • Is committed to the safety and development of all GCYC members.
  • Serve as a role model for youth and community.
  • Maintain current and accurate statistical documentation of programs offered and participant outcomes.
  • Accurately complete administrative tasks related to management of urban agriculture programming, including internal and external reporting.
  • Secure supplies and materials in cooperation with supervisor and other program staff.
  • Maintain organized and clean indoor and outdoor working spaces.
  • Manage daily program operations, funding requirements, data collection, evaluation and administrative duties.
  • Participate in special events, trainings, meetings and other duties as assigned.


Urban Agriculture

  • Instruct groups of 10 to 20 teens during school, after school and school vacations.
  • Develop and implement urban agriculture curricula and program activities utilizing the GCYC network of gardens.
  • Work both independently and with youth to lead urban agriculture tasks including plant propagation, site preparation/maintenance, planting/transplanting, weed management, integrated pest and disease management, irrigation, harvesting, washing and packing, distribution and food safety.
  • Collaborate with GCYC culinary department to support seed-to-table programming.
  • Assists with the management of part-time instructors, contracted partners and interns.
  • Lead volunteers, groups, tours, workshops and demonstrations.



Competencies, Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the guidance and discipline principles of positive youth development and the ability to use this knowledge to achieve the goals of the program.
  • Promote an inclusive, welcoming, and respectful environment that embraces diversity.
  • Foster academic and non-academic skills and broaden participant horizons.
  • Demonstrate classroom management skills that are engaging and age appropriate
  • Demonstrate appropriate conflict resolution strategies.
  • Promote responsible and healthy decision-making among all participants.
  • Develop leadership, team-building and self-advocacy skills among participants.
  • Demonstrate cultural competency with a dedication to working with youth, families and community members.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with students, co-workers, stakeholders and families.
  • Write accurate data-driven reports and communication.
  • Strong organizational project management skills.
  • Analyze and prioritize situations to identify and solve problems.
  • Demonstrate initiative by taking ownership of work and following through.
  • Team oriented, building strong working relationships and a positive work environment.
  • Collaborate effectively by building relationships to accomplish goals.
  • Ability to comply with applicable safety and emergency requirements.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, SharePoint, OneDrive).


Education / Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in agriculture education, environmental science/studies, sustainability or related field required.
  • Minimum of five years’ professional work experience, with a minimum of 2 years working directly with school-aged youth.
  • Minimum of two years’ experience as instructor of urban agriculture or related field in-school or out-of-school classes.
  • Experience leading conservation and stewardship activities with school-aged youth, teens preferred.
  • Knowledge of local flora and fauna, to include trees, shrubs, perennial plants.
  • Experience participating in / leading FFA and other agriculture education programs is preferred.
  • Preference will be given to applicants with significant experience growing food in an urban environment.


Environmental and working conditions

  • Must be able to lift 25 pounds and work outdoors in all types of weather; During the growing seasons, 20 percent of instructor’s time will be spent maintaining the GCYC network of gardens.
  • As a teen-based, year-round out-of-school program, the position requires a 45-hour work week with a one-hour lunch break. During the school year (September- May) the schedule will be M-TH 10:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m and 9:30am-6:30pm on Friday, including Chicago Public Schools’ holidays, professional development days, and winter/spring/summer breaks. During the summer (June – August) the schedule will be 10am-7pm. Schedule may also include occasional evenings, weekends.
  • Fast-paced work environment


Salary: Dependent upon qualifications and experience.


To apply: Please visit and click urban agriculture instructor to apply. Application is open until position is filled. Priority will be given to applications received by April 5, 2019.


This opening is closed and is no longer accepting applications
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