Understanding the skills, credentials, and potential of the U.S. green infrastructure workforce

Identifying current and emerging trends in the green infrastructure workforce to examine the potential of these projects to spur job creation

Mary V.L. Wright
Director, Employer Alliances
617.728.4446 x211


Key Resources on Green Infrastructure

The resources listed below provide a useful primer on green infrastructure (GI). For each resource there is a brief summary, as well as a link to the full report. Although many of these reports are written as case studies in specific jurisdictions, the lessons learned can be applied in other locations. In addition, links to several other helpful sources can be found at the bottom of the page.

Capturing the Storm

Capturing the Storm: Profits, Jobs, and Training in Philadelphia’s Stormwater Industry

Business United for Conservation Industry Partnership, Compiled by GSP Consulting Corp. and the Ecolibrium Group (2010)

Summary: This report examines the opportunities to build an Industry Partnership (IP) around the conservation and pollution mitigation industries in Philadelphia and highlights challenges that such an IP could overcome. According to the authors, the IP could play an important role by:

  • Developing professional standards for different green stormwater professionals
  • Connecting businesses with the workforce system
  • Developing a one-stop shop for information and marketing
  • Making the public case for green stormwater infrastructure and management
  • Creating policy and incentives to support GI

These strategies would enable an IP to address the fragmentation in and catalize public support across the industry.

Certifications for GI Professionals

Certifications for Green Infrastructure Professionals: The Current State, Recommended Best Practices, and What Governments Can Do to Help

Harvard Law School, Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic, and the Environmental Policy Initiative (2014)

Summary: This report highlights existing GI professional certifications and examines the obstacles that inhibit the growth and acceptance of these programs. For example, since GI is an emerging industry, there are no widely accepted standards to which programs can adhere. The report recommends how GI certification programs should be designed and implemented for maximum effectiveness and calls on state and local governments to help ensure the growth of rigorous GI certifications.


Seeing Green: GI Maintenance Training Programs

Seeing Green: Green Infrastructure Maintenance Training and Workforce Development Opportunities in Northeast Ohio

LAND Studio, Neighborhood Progress Inc., Green For All, and The Center for Economic Development (2013)

Summary: The first portion of the report draws on Green for All’s national research on GI and green jobs and highlights five practices to create successful workforce development programs, which include:

  • Partnering with public agencies to gain access to on-the-job training experience and fee for service contract work
  • Developing training and certification with GI education professionals
  • Establishing partnerships that can establish a career development pathway
  • Supporting the creation and development of GI businesses
  • Enabling policies and community benefit standards

The second chapter estimates the economic impact of Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s GI, including its potential for job creation. The final chapter underscores the need for a GI maintenance training program and an accompanying workforce development strategy in Cleveland and profiles various local organizations that could play a role in this effort.

Sustainable Water Jobs

Sustainable Water Jobs: A National Assessment of Water-Related Green Job Opportunities

Eli Moore, Heather Cooley, Juliet Christian-Smith, Kristina Donelly, Kristian Ongoco, and Daryl Ford. The Pacific Institute (2013)

Summary: This comprehensive report examines a variety of sustainable water strategies (e.g., stormwater management and urban water conservation and efficiency) that have emerged across sectors and identifies 136 occupations associated with these approaches. The authors draw upon national datasets to analyze characteristics of the workforce, job quality, and projected openings in sustainable water occupations. They also highlight promising practices among programs that link disadvantaged communities to sustainable water jobs.


9 Ways to Make GI Work

9 Ways to Make Green Infrastructure Work for Towns and Cities

Regional Plan Association (2012)

Summary: This is a step-by-step guide that explains how GI interventions work, highlights challenges that might arise as cities and towns implement them, and provides case studies on how different cities have solved those problems.




Other Resources and Reports: