New Report: Green Infrastructure Investments Create Pathways Out of Poverty


Contact: Alyssa Cocchi

Oakland, CA – Today, Green For All and American Rivers released a new report, titled Staying Green and Growing Jobs: Infrastructure Operations and Maintenance as Career Pathway Stepping Stones. 

The report shows that the operations and maintenance of green infrastructure represents a significant opportunity to create entry-level jobs for individuals from disadvantaged communities.

“We know these jobs in green infrastructure can help transform communities, and lives,” said Green For All CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins. “Investing in projects that expand these opportunities will not only slash pollution. Done right, it can help fight poverty and inequity.”

The report reveals that green infrastructure operations and maintenance jobs are accessible, they provide a decent wage, and they offer career advancement opportunities, especially in the public sector.  At the same time, the report shows that there is a real threat that this work may take place in low-road work environments, represented by low wages and poor benefits.

“In the coming years, thousands of new green infrastructure projects will be installed throughout the country, requiring a workforce trained to maintain and monitor the projects,” Ellis-Lamkins said. “We need to make sure that we connect disadvantaged communities to these opportunities.”

The report recommends several strategies for maximizing the benefits of green infrastructure investments, including creating community benefits goals, partnering with workforce development programs, and requiring properly trained and certified workers and contractors.

American Rivers and Green for All collaborated to develop two companion reports exploring different elements of operations and maintenance of green infrastructure.  A companion report to this one titled, Staying Green: Strategies to Improve Operations and Maintenance of Green Infrastructure in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed highlights existing information related to costs of green infrastructure maintenance, identifies the significant barriers to effective operations and maintenance of these practices, recommends strategies to improve operations and maintenance, and provides resources and case studies that local governments can use as models.  Both reports are available here.  

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