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.
For Jonathan, having to witness his peers leave college due to their inability to obtain paid and unpaid internships was frustrating. Through his experience with managing interns and engaging with students of color while in the corporate arena further pushed him to establish GardHouse. Knowing that students of color in Charlotte are less than 30% likely to graduate college, with some reasons falling around employment opportunities, was heartbreaking. Jonathan strives to become the change in the world that his nephew will grow up in.