Restoring the Environment and Developing Youth (READY) is a program working to create green jobs for young adults and adults while improving watershed health through the reduction of stormwater runoff and providing additional environmental protection services.
For 20 years, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay has focused on improving quality of life by protecting and restoring Lancaster County’s waterways. In that time, Lancaster County has experienced tremendous growth and revitalization leading to a forward-thinking, water-focused expansion, utilizing green infrastructure techniques.
Green infrastructure is a method of increasing the land’s ability to absorb stormwater through planting trees and mimicking natural systems. The City of Lancaster, many townships and boroughs, and residents have adopted this new approach as it is less costly than traditional stormwater management and improves aesthetics.
This growing demand for green infrastructure in Lancaster has created a gap in qualified candidates ready for hire.
In fact, the Pennsylvania Landscaping and Nursery Association asserted, “the green jobs sector of the economy is expanding, showing considerable growth and long-term employment potential,” along with showing “potential to offer workers a living wage.”
Eager to support the growing need for local residents trained in green infrastructure, the Alliance has created a workforce development program called READY (Restoring the Environment and Developing Youth), in Lancaster County and two Programs already developed in Maryland.
The intention is to provide hands-on training to disadvantaged community members in building landscaping skills, while also supporting the installation and maintenance needs of organizations throughout the County. This also grows their work experiences, sharpens their professional skills, and increases interactions with potential employers.
The READY Program focuses on individuals that do not have their GED, have a criminal background, are underemployed, or have a learning disability. Community partners include: Lancaster City, Lancaster County Conservation District, LandStudies, Janus School, Lancaster Conservancy, and more.
The READY program provides crew members the experience and skillset to find employment with landscaping companies, public works crews, and other local contractors. Members from past programs have been hired by Earthbound Artisans and LandStudies. In 2020, the City of Lancaster has committed to hiring four graduates from the program for a six month internship within the Stormwater Bureau.
Our 2021 READY application period will open in early spring 2021, but you can sign up here to receive email alerts about the project.
Contact Jenna Mitchell for more information.