The University of Maine Cooperative Extension collaborated with Cherryfield Foods, Inc. to create an innovative experiential training program that qualified youth to participate in the mechanical harvesting of wild blueberries. Youth who successfully completed the course were guaranteed summer employment with the company. This allowed youth to earn an income while applying and refining their newly acquired skills. Twenty-eight of the 31 youth trained were employed during subsequent blueberry harvest seasons, with no injuries reported. The success of this program resulted from the application of positive youth development principles coupled with an employment incentive.

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