On a sunny Saturday in July, RINLA hosted its Roundtable for workers who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) at United Way of Rhode Island in Olneyville, Providence. Twelve BIPOC members of the green industry’s workforce gathered together with facilitator Stephanie Moniz of Groundwork and Garden Time, along with Shayna Cohen of KK&P, to discuss their experiences working so far in the green industry, highlighting perceived barriers faced along the way. The conversation focused on ways RINLA staff, Growing Futures programs and member companies can recruit, support and sustain a diverse workforce. Attendees’ experiences varied, in the number of years in the industry and how they entered the industry. A majority had engaged with Growing Futures programming at some point. Present were graduates of the Growing Futures Career Catalyst programs, Boot Camps, Registered Apprentices and students of the Rhode Island Certified Horticulturist program. Some others had only just now come to be involved with Growing Futures through the Roundtable.
Participants discussed tangible stressors to entering and succeeding as part of the green industry, and potential action steps RINLA can take to better support BIPOC training participants and workers throughout their careers in the green industry.
Next steps will involve a reconvening of this group to define an action plan and path forward based on recommendations from participants of the Roundtable. RINLA is committed to nurturing the ideas of the members from this cohort into actionable steps forward, as well as encouraging the growth of this community’s representation, participation and leadership in green industries. If you are interested in joining the conversation or learning more, reach out to Mason Billings, Program Associate and Resources Coordinator for RINLA, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (413) 684-8094.
Written by Mason Billings