Training for New Green Jobs in Atlanta
64% of program participants have found employment or launched entrepreneurial ventures.
Atlanta boasts the highest percentage of urban tree canopy coverage among large U.S. cities. But it is a rapidly growing metropolis that is also home to the nation’s most extreme economic disparity. Working at the nexus of these realities, The Nature Conservancy and HABESHA, Inc., a Pan-African organization that cultivates leadership in youth and families, created the Urban Green Jobs program. Forty-five residents—mostly from Thomasville, a historic African American community on the city’s south side—have participated in the paid training program that teaches about green-space management, urban agriculture and other conservation topics from industry experts.
“This is a tight-knit community that has rallied to find solutions to flooding, inequitable access to quality green spaces and the need for jobs,” says Ayanna Williams, TNC's Healthy Cities director in Georgia. “The program offers paid training and internships so that Thomasville Heights residents can become competitive in the growing green workforce industry.”
Participants apply their newfound expertise through activities such as leading stream cleanups and planting trees to better manage stormwater runoff and improve public green spaces. To date, 64% of participants have found employment or launched entrepreneurial ventures, following the program. The Conservancy is considering similar programs for other cities.