SZA, TAZO Tea and a nonprofit team up for urban forestry jobs


R&B singer SZA is looking for Detroiters to help transform the city into a green urban oasis by developing a paid workforce.

SZA, whose songs remind us to remove toxicity from our lives, has teamed up with TAZO tea and American Forests, a nonprofit conservation group, to launch the TAZO Tree Corps.

The program aims to create a paid workforce who will plant and maintain trees in five cities across the United States, Detroit being one of them. The other cities in the program are the Bronx in New York; Richmond, Virginia; Minneapolis and San Francisco.

“For many Americans, the effects of climate change are already here. Across the country, black, brown and indigenous communities are already facing the worst,” SZA said in the video. “Some (communities) are 20 degrees warmer than the whiter neighborhoods in the same city.”

The TAZO Tree Corps is a paid opportunity for residents of Detroit to acquire hands-on, on-the-job skills in urban forestry management, according to the website. The program will provide two to three weeks of paid training in urban forestry.

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After training, TAZO Tree Corps members will become full time employees of the Davey Tree Expert Company. Social benefits include child care, transportation assistance and medical benefits, depending on the TAZO website. Pay for the program is based on each location’s cost-of-living standard, the website says. TAZO Tea said employees will earn more than family wages for each location.

“Over the next two years, the Tree Corps will plant and care for thousands of trees in affected communities, starting in March in Detroit, Minneapolis and the San Francisco Bay Area,” TAZO Tea said on his website.

In the video, SZA said decades of discriminatory zoning practices had turned some communities into “sacrifice zones.”

Sacrifice Zones are neighborhoods where there are chemical processing plants, highways and heavy polluters, SZA said in the video. As a result, communities have less green space and fewer trees.

“I know it sounds too simple,” SZA said on Instagram. “But if planting trees can improve everything from air quality to economic opportunity, then what are we waiting for? “

The application deadline for this program is March 12. To apply or view the requirements for this program, click here.

Contact Slone Terranella at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @SloneTerranella.

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