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HOPS Program

Horticultural Options in Plant Sciences

Horticultural Options in Plant Sciences (HOPS)

Fall 2022 through Spring 2023

The HOPS Project is a two semester (approximately 32 weeks) training program whose purpose is to provide instruction and support individuals with disabilities to gain the necessary skills and experiences in work readiness in order to successfully transition into competitive integrated employment in the horticulture industry. Students have the option to become certified on the state/national level. The program focuses primarily on four of the five core Pre-ETS areas, which include:

  • Career Exploration – Students enrolled in the HOPS program engage in presentations from employees in the field, gain understanding of career and employment settings through coursework and volunteering at various industry employment settings connected to their career field interest.
  • Work-Based Learning – Students participate in both volunteer activities and a semester-long practicum to offer assistance to local non-profit organizations and at job sites aligned to their career of choice.
  • Job Readiness – Students are provided instruction to develop skills in the areas of employability, socialization and interpersonal, as well as independent living.
  • Self-Advocacy – Students are provided direct instruction in self-advocacy, personal centered practices, and specific job/career related content as well as independent living skills. This instruction is facilitated through mentorships (program staff who are college aged Texas A&M University students).

Twenty-five (25) applicants will be selected to attend. Individuals enrolled in the program attend specifically designed classes on the campus of Texas A&M University. Students take classes alongside traditional Texas A&M students both during the fall and spring semester. During the fall semester, students take content-specific classes, field-based experience classes (to prepare for their practicum), a professionalism class, and a class of their choice to foster their independent living skills. Independent living skills are taught in conjunction with the Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living.


These eligibility requirements are applicable to those applying for both the HOPS and W.A.C.O. projects. Participants must be 18 years of age by the start date of the program, 6/11/22.

Your acceptance is not guaranteed. A panel of reviewers will score your application after the deadline.

  • Priority deadline: 02/28/2023
  • Final deadline: 04/19/2023

You will be notified in April of the status of your application.

Acceptance in this program is contingent on a successful completion of the W.A.C.O. Program and a passing score in the Garden Science 101 class of W.A.C.O.

Career Fields (Areas of Concentration)

Earn industry recognized credentials in one of three career fields (choose one):

Floral Design

  • Floral Designer
  • Floral Clerk
  • Floral Specialist
  • Florist, Flower Shop Laborer
  • Wedding Decorator

Landscape Management

  • Grounds Maintenance Specialist
  • Gardener
  • Landscape Specialist
  • Landscape Technician


  • Greenhouse Technician
  • Harvester
  • Plant Nursery Technician
  • Orchard Worker
  • Propagation Specialist
  • Farm Laborer