To increase post-graduation employment opportunities for college students of color by maximizing work-based programs.


To eliminate systemic barriers that foster unemployment for degree holding students of color.


After analyzing his own obstacles entering the workforce, Jonathan created GardHouse to provide resources for students just like himself. Jonathan was a minority student raised by a single mother that worked to make “ends meet,” so professional connections were slim. Though he held a series of internships throughout college, none translated into technical experience when searching for employment. As he did more research into work-based programs, employment disparities were still prevalent in Charlotte.

Originally from Philadelphia, Jonathan was exposed to a variety of programs for students of color to get into college. Similarly to Charlotte, there were very few that assisted first-generation students with building professional experience. This left students entering college for the first time without tools to properly navigate.Knowing that students of color in Charlotte are less than 30% likely to graduate college, with some reasons falling around employment opportunities, signaled a time for a change.

The first of its kind, GardHouse developed a pipeline to employment for college students of color through local minority-owned businesses. Unlike other organizations, students are encouraged to broaden their horizons by first identifying their strengths, then connecting those strengths to the profession they are working towards. Within several months of inception, GardHouse has effectively: partnered with three local colleges/universities, placed several students within paid opportunities, and initiated a discussion around minority-owned businesses being economic drivers and work-force developers.