READY employs Howard County residents ages 16-26 to build rain gardens and conservation landscapes that filter stormwater runoff and alleviate flooding from pavement and other impervious surfaces.

The investment Howard County makes in READY yields returns in four ways:

  • Provides living wage jobs for young adults who have a hard time finding work
  • Helps Howard County meet its federally mandated stormwater management obligations
  • Provides congregations and non-profit organizations with pollution and flooding management help they might not otherwise be able to afford
  • Reduces pollution to local water ways and the Chesapeake Bay

READY is funded by Howard County and administered by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay (the Alliance) with support from People Acting Together in Howard (PATH).

The Alliance is a nonprofit organization that for nearly 40 years has been dedicated to protecting the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers, streams, and surrounding communities.

PATH, an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation, is a multi-racial, multi-faith, non-partisan citizens’ organization rooted in local congregations and associations of Howard County. PATH engages congregation and community leaders around issues that directly impact their lives.

What We Do


READY crew leaders and crew members build rain gardens and conservation landscapes that filter storm water and control flooding from pavement and other impervious surfaces.

READY employees work throughout the summer in most kinds of weather. Much of the work will be labor intensive, including digging, planting, and heavy lifting. We make every effort to ensure a safe experience for our employees, but we expect that you will be in good physical condition and possess strong mental fiber to do this work without undue risk of injury.

In addition, READY employees learn about the function and construction of rain gardens, and their role in water conservation and restoration. READY employees are occasionally asked to communicate with the public about the program, their work, and its impact on the Chesapeake Bay. READY also works with interested employees who have blogging, social media, photography, writing, or other creative skills to showcase the program to various audiences.

READY Jobs Overview

Through a partnership among Howard County, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and People Acting Together in Howard, READY hires 45 young adults each summer to build rain gardens and conservation landscapes that manage stormwater runoff.

What is Stormwater Runoff?

Much of the ground in and around Howard County is covered with impervious surfaces – rooftops, driveways, streets, and parking lots – that prevent rain from soaking into the ground. Instead, storm water runs off these surfaces and flows into sewers that carry it out to the Chesapeake Bay, taking trash, lawn pesticides, and fertilizers with it. Rain gardens capture the “first flush” of this stormwater runoff, which holds much of the pollution that had accumulated on nearby impervious surfaces. The gardens trap and hold polluted rain water, giving it a chance to percolate in the soil while the plants absorb the nutrients. The result is cleaner water.

Job Overview

Through the Alliance, READY employs 45 young adults for full-time summer jobs installing rain gardens, conservation landscapes, and other measures that help to reduce stormwater runoff on public and non-profit land in Howard County Maryland.

During the summer, crew members are divided into teams of 5-6 members overseen by a crew leader.

If you’re between 16-26, you can apply to be a crew leader or crew member. In general, crew leaders will possess demonstrated leadership and motivational skills, and have some prior job experience. Crew members do not need to have had prior work experience, and will find this experience an ideal opportunity to get a first taste for responsible work, supported with coaching along the way.

Additionally, employees receive training on topics such as:

  • The ecology of the Chesapeake Bay and why watershed protection is key to its health
  • Native plants of Maryland
  • Soils and hydrology
  • Measuring and monitoring watershed functions
  • Rain garden design and other means to capture runoff
  • Ways to describe their experience for their resumés and other job skills coaching

Before the end of their experience, each person will be responsible for making presentations to their sponsoring organizations about what they are doing and learning.

Learn more from our report.