In New Orleans, when we think of construction, we think of laying nondrainable concrete and sacrificing jobs to nonresidents who are certified to lead the projects. What if improving infrastructure reduced flooding and provided jobs for the people who call New Orleans home?

Thrive was chosen as the National Disaster Resilience Operator by the city because we use a multifaceted approach to solve infrastructural and economic issues: train New Orleans residents to design and install flood-friendly infrastructure.

We saw the rising tide for “green infrastructure” in New Orleans: construction interventions that mitigate flooding. We needed to ensure that green infrastructure projects are in the hands of Black, Brown, and underserved residents.

Thrive started two new “green” programs through our pillars to equip people of color with specialized stormwater management skills and connect them to meaningful work and business revenue.

We paved a path specifically for landscapers and contractors that trains them to design and manage green infrastructure installations: the Thrive Launch Green Business Academy. In conjunction, we formed an educational training program that prepares people in need of employment with the specialized skills to install these Green Infrastructure projects: ThriveWorks Green.

We are proud to have the city’s support as we nurture a thriving relationship between New Orleans residents and our environment. With new federal investment in infrastructure, we are hopeful about the possibilities on the horizon for New Orleans workers and business owners in the green infrastructure space.

CHUCK MORSE

executive director, Thrive New Orleans