A job inspecting rain gardens was not exactly on Edwin’s radar when he decided to join Metro Blooms’ Sustainable Landcare Training program. The North Minneapolis resident had done some gardening in middle school and learned about plants in recent volunteer work. What he didn’t know was the potential for this interest to turn into well-paid work in a growing field.
This fall, Edwin was one of 11 participants in the training program who we hired to inspect rain gardens and other green infrastructure through a contract with the City of Minneapolis.
“I didn’t have any knowledge to what stormwater was, or stormwater runoff, or a rain garden or any BMP [best management practice],” Edwin said. “At the end of the training I had a very good entry point to all that was going on.”
His friend Deverick, who teamed up with Edwin to do inspections, said his favorite part of the program was learning about different plants and why it’s important to keep rain gardens clean, and the experience gave him a better appreciation for taking care of the environment.
Working on their own schedule, Deverick and Edwin were given a map of their inspection area and an iPad to report their findings. They checked for erosion, looked at plant health, identified native and invasive plants, and recommended actions to restore or keep the rain garden in working order.
Through Sustainable Landcare Training, we are training a green infrastructure workforce, with a focus on youths and young adults in communities impacted by environmental injustice. During the 30-hour program, which is paid, participants learn about stormwater best management practices (BMPs), including rain gardens, caring for native plants, and how to inspect and report on stormwater practices. We also explore environmental justice and how history has shaped our current landscape. The program prepares participants with job-ready skills and can open up pathways to environmental careers.