we are the resilience WORKFORCE

Preparing and Repairing America in the Face of Disaster

DISASTERS are now a fact of life in America. Every year, they increase in frequency and impact. Disasters are changing all of our lives, and no one is more important in shaping how we plan for them than the people we depend on to prepare, respond and recover. It’s the work of the Resilience Workforce that allows us to adapt and thrive. RESILIENCE FORCE is a national initiative to transform America’s response to disasters by strengthening and securing America’s Resilience Workforce—the millions of people whose work, heart and expertise make sustainable recovery from disasters possible.

Resilience Force works with community advocates and forward-thinking leaders in government, labor, the private sector and philanthropy to rewrite the rules of recovery.

A strong and active Resilience Workforce is vital to helping America’s cities and towns solve the many challenges that disasters pose and build thriving economies and inclusive communities as they do it.

By devising and implementing solutions to support the Resilience Workforce, Resilience Force and our partners are ensuring a more effective and equitable approach to disaster preparation, response, recovery and rebuilding.

The people who make up our country’s Resilience Workforce are now coming together—to be heard and to be counted, and to remove the barriers that hold them back from helping America rebuild.

The Resilience Workforce includes firefighters and other responders who limit the damage and harm caused by disasters as they emerge, as well as health care workers who assess needs and help the people most impacted. They are day care workers caring for children so their parents can return to work during recovery, and counselors who help impacted communities heal and rebuild social ties.

The Resilience Workforce includes people who start makeshift food pantries, check in regularly on their elderly neighbors and get the word out to displaced people when local housing and jobs become available.

It also includes those with more formal work roles. Some in the Resilience Workforce have secure and protected jobs, but far too many are under-paid and overlooked—they are people whose vital work is ignored, and whose humanity is threatened at every step.

Resilience workers include construction workers who fortify buildings in preparation for disasters, as well as reconstruction workers who rebuild homes and office buildings after disasters strike.

Written by award-winning journalist Sarah Stillman, this piece follows a year in the life of resilience workers making recovery possible for communities all across the country who have been hit by increasingly forceful climate disasters.

For years, Resilience Force has advanced the idea that the Resilience Workforce is critical to thriving and equitable post-disaster recoveries, and to building climate resilience communities. This article is a hugely significant moment of recognition for Resilience Workers — an indispensable workforce that has been growing and evolving since Hurricane Katrina, but has mostly been unrecognized and mistreated even as their work has become more urgent.

As we set out to build our climate-resilient future, Resilience Workers need to be placed at the center of a permanent climate workforce coordinated at the federal level, and including professionalization, training, and a family-supporting career path, and human-centered immigration policies, like a pathway to citizenship for all. They also need to be at the table with employers in the disaster restoration industry to negotiate the new rules of the recovery economy.

Featured on the new yorker radio hour - you'll hear directly from Resilience Workers.

Listen to Mariano Alvarado and others share their experiences on the frontlines of preparedness and recovery.

NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with Sarah Stillman, staff writer at The New Yorker.

She spent the past year with some of the growing number of migrant laborers who follow climate disasters for work.

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Immigrants are Essential

Without immigrant Americans, there is no essential workforce in America. From health care to child care, farming to food systems, our nation depends on these workers. We partnered with artists to illustrate true stories from the front lines of disaster—making recovery possible.

COntact us

Looking for National Guestworker Alliance? Most of NGA’s work is now part of Resilience Force.

If you have a specific question about guestworkers,
email Daniel Castellanos, dcastellanos@guestworkeralliance.org