Fresh Coast Fresh Start

Program Overview: 

Fresh Coast Fresh Start (Fresh Start) is a pilot workforce program to introduce opportunity candidates to careers in green infrastructure (GI), land management, construction, and the skilled trades while providing holistic personal and professional development for participants. The Fresh Start program is currently running for three years (2021-2024). It trains participants on water/wastewater industry topics such as wastewater operations; conveyance construction; watercourse; and GI construction and vegetation establishment.  

Enrollees in Fresh Start will complete educational training, hands-on and on-the-job training, and on-the-job development with the goal of leading to job placement or apprenticeship.  Participating contractors and personnel performing MMSD or Milwaukee County Parks vegetation establishment and/or construction for watercourse and GI projects will provide hands-on training. Fresh Start will involve up to twenty crew members and three crew leaders per year.  Participants will earn a family-sustaining wage throughout the training experience and classroom-based education. The goal is to train adults to be workforce-ready and, in doing so, better coordinate and share resources used for GI and watercourse construction, vegetation establishment, and potentially maintenance contracts in the future. 

Goals: 

  • Engage 15-20 opportunity candidates (including reentering citizens, unemployed, underemployed, and career-changing adults), ages 21 and above to careers in GI, land management, construction, and trades  

  • Support workforce development goals of MMSD and Milwaukee County Parks 

  • Create intentional inclusion in green careers in the region 

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Commitment to Equity: 

Over the next 6-10 years, over 40% of Wisconsin’s water industry professionals will retire. For a multitude of reasons, the industry has failed to bridge the representation gap between employees and the communities they serve, creating a substantially racial- and gender-homogeneous workforce. MMSD and its partners are invested in addressing these disparities and committed to taking part in addressing environmental and economic challenges in the water sector and natural resource management. While the Fresh Start program will not be a perfect nor a sole solution in addressing economic equity and sustainability, the intention is to create an adjustable framework that holistically addresses barriers to access.  Commitment from industry partners to prioritize eliminating unjust obstructions to entry (ex. Ban the box) and prioritizing inclusive practices for hiring and retention is a must for programs like Fresh Start to ultimately be successful.