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Groundwork, ASD’s innovative workforce development program delivers paid, on-the-job training to people with barriers to employment.

If you’re experiencing employment barriers that keep you from making career progress, we’re here to help. Our goal is to deliver transferable skills supported by industry certification so that you will have broad options for growing a strong career. Earn money while you build valuable skills that will help set you on a path to a solid career and apply today!

Need skills? Apply to Groundwork!

Barriers to Employment

A barrier to employment is a challenge that prevents you from getting or keeping a job, or advancing your career. These challenges include, but aren’t limited to:


(3-6 Months)

Garden and Greenhouse Associate

Have you always wanted to learn to grow crops for yourself or for profit? If so, consider this entry-level producer and/or entrepreneurship option. As a Garden and Greenhouse Associate, you will: 

  • Work in our community garden and/or greenhouse
  • Immerse yourself in the world of growing, fine-tuning the basics of tending to herbs, vegetables, and flowers
  • Work in the Late Bloomers cut flower social enterprise
  • Learn how to develop your own agriculture-related business, including the creation of a unique brand, marketing, customer acquisition, and funding resources (optional)

Digital Media Associate

Are you a creative soul with a desire to learn about marketing and digital media? As a Digital Media Associate, you will:

  • Become immersed in the world of videography, photography, and graphic arts
  • Explore internships and job shadowing opportunities
  • Establish and build a business and artist portfolio

Food Production Associate

Are you passionate about providing healthy, locally-sourced food to people in the community? Do you enjoy food preparation, and want to learn more about food safety and kitchen management? In this program, you’ll learn:

  • Food safety procedures to earn your ServSafe certification
  • How to wash, store, prepare, and serve large quantities of food, safely
  • Research and develop new recipes and menus
  • Business essentials for running a commercial kitchen

Warehouse Associate

Are you interested in being a part of the behind-the-scenes action of produce distribution? As a Warehouse Associate, you will work in our Appalachian Harvest Food Hub and:

  • Learn how to safely handle fresh produce from our network of regional farmers
  • Learn the ins and outs of industry best practices for receiving and distribution 
  • Manage and track the logistics of product inventory 
  • Earn certificates in OSHA 10-Hour Safety and Forklift Safety

Sustainability Associate

Are you passionate about protecting the planet? Would you like to educate others on sustainability issues such as recycling, compost, alternative energy? As a Sustainability Associate, you will:

  • Learn about waste management and reduction, green building practices, and renewable energy 
  • Help manage the collection, bailing, and sale of recyclable plastics
  • Maintain LEED certification on ASD’s new building site 
  • Work with community partners for waste collection 
  • Promote sustainability best practices through community-based education
  • Pursue a LEED Green Associate certification (optional)

Social Enterprises


Blue Hills Market and Spring House in Abingdon, VA.

Late Bloomers webpage coming soon!

Blog posts

Meet the Groundwork Team

Selena Barr

Digital Media Associate

Debbie Browning

Workforce Development Program Manager

David Gabbert

Tazewell Garden Supervisor/Mentor

Jessica Harless

Warehouse Associate

Dylan Johnson

Sustainability Lead

Alyssa Maring

Groundwork Capacity Building VISTA

Michael Henshaw

Commercial Kitchen Supervisor/Mentor

Josh Thompson

Manager of Social Enterprise

Meghan Tignor

Groundwork Trainee Leader

Heather Wolford

Digital Media Associate

Lisa Worley

Abingdon Garden Supervisor/Mentor

Get Involved

We are always looking for business partners who can provide job shadowing, mentoring, and educational opportunities. If you’re interested in helping build our economy by building a more skilled workforce, contact Debbie Browning, Groundwork Program Manager.

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