Department of Labor
While the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) does not have a brownfields initiative, its mission complements local redevelopment efforts, which needs workers who are trained and skilled to handle environmental cleanup and sustainable redevelopment of brownfields.
- Offers technical assistance linked to job training and workforce development in brownfields communities — targeted to state and local governments.
Job Training and Technical Assistance
DOL provides job training expertise and helps coordinate Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs in brownfield communities. In August, 2003, DOL issued a training and employment notice to all state workforce agencies and liaisons on potential collaboration with EPA on brownfields economic development. DOL encourages local workforce professionals to be involved in the planning of job readiness needs for the next use of brownfields.
Eligibility Requirements: Technical assistance is available to communities with brownfields. State or local governments interested in this support should contact the department’s Employment and Training Administration’s (ETA) relevant regional administrator; contact information can be found on the regional offices Web site.
Availability: Interested parties should contact their local Workforce Investment Board for information.
New Bedford, Massachusetts
New Bedford, Massachusetts, has a long history of industrial whaling, cotton textile manufacturing and fishing, which has left little space for new industrial development. The decline of the city’s main industries and the recent departure of several large employers have created abandoned properties that are either contaminated or thought to be contaminated and left many without jobs. New Bedford’s efforts to assess and clean up brownfields and reduce a high unemployment rate indicated a need for environmental job training. The city was able to leverage $71,000 in funding from the Department of Labor to support the program’s staff and office space. The job training program consisted of 25 weeks of comprehensive environmental response training, including training in the use of innovative technologies for site assessment and cleanup activities. Since its inception, the program has graduated 60 local residents.
Maria K. Flynn