Restoring the Environment and Developing Youth (READY) is a program working to create green jobs for young adults (16 to 24 years old) while improving watershed health through the reduction of stormwater runoff and providing additional environmental protection services. The READY program is being run in Howard County and Anne Arundel County in Maryland with future expansions into Pennsylvania planned.


The recent economic recession has created difficult employment conditions in many areas. There are also few opportunities for young men and women to earn money for education and/or acquire job skills to succeed in today’s competitive job market. At the same time, local jurisdictions are also being required to accelerate the implementation of stormwater controls in a slow growing economy with continued high unemployment.

READY members are trained in the design and installation of green stormwater techniques such as rain gardens and rain barrels, maintenance of public and private installations, and stormwater assessment techniques. They receive job skills training and are exposed to local and regional environmental issues.

At the core of this project we aim to provide jobs for young adults who have little access to environmental jobs and help to reduce stormwater loads coming from regional roads, rooftops, and parking areas. More deeply, it will help to engage the urban African American community in environmental activities, a community that is mostly under served by our current network of partners. It will also provide a pipeline of trained and enthusiastic young African Americans ready to accept jobs with mainstream Chesapeake Bay environmental groups and institutions working to protect our environment.

During the summer of 2015, READY teams in Howard county treated over 70,000 sq ft of impervious surface, installed 20 rain gardens and 8 BayScape gardens, and conducted BMP maintenance, stream cleanups, tree plantings and environmental education with students.

The Anne Arundel County READY program was piloted in 2015 and hired 15 young adults to remove invasive plants and install 4 BayScape gardens and 1 rain garden.

Howard County Partners:

  • People Acting Together in Howard (PATH)
  • Industrial Areas Foundation
  • Howard County

Anne Arundel County Partners:

  • Mount Olive Community Development Corporation
  • Our Creeks & Conservancy
  • Annapolis High School: Change Engineering
  • Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards Academy
  • Spa Creek Conservancy
  • South River Federation, Motivation Education
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Lou Etgen Deputy and Maryland State Director, Maryland & DC Office

Lou is the Alliance's Program Director for Maryland and the District of Columbia. Lou oversees all Maryland and DC program staff, as well as manages a variety of projects around the region, including the Chesapeake Watershed Forum.

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