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News Releases from Region 08

EPA provides $192K job training grant to Denver Indian Center

Contact Information: 
U.S. EPA: Richard Mylott (mylott.richard@epa.gov)
Christina Wilson (wilson.christina@epa.gov)
Denver Indian Center: Donald Lake (Donald@DenverIndianCenter.org)

Funds to develop environmental job skills and opportunities for Colorado's American Indian community

(Denver, Colo. - May 26, 2015) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the Denver Indian Center, Inc. a $192,000 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) grant to deliver targeted environmental workforce instruction and certifications to American Indians in a seven-county area (Arapahoe, Adams, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson) comprising Colorado's Front Range. Today's announcement is part of nearly $3.6 million EPA is providing to 19 grant recipients across the nation to develop workforce skills that advance the protection of human health and the environment.

"EPA's job training grants open doors by providing motivated individuals with the skills they need to meet a growing demand for environmental jobs," said EPA regional administrator, Shaun McGrath. "These training opportunities are investments in the people who do the specialized tasks that keep our communities clean, safe and healthy."

Over the past seven years, the Denver Indian Center has provided employment services to more than 20,000 individuals with a job placement rate of 87 percent. With the EPA grant, the Center will recruit candidates for training from across Colorado's Front Range Counties using established State Workforce Centers, including the Center's own Native Workforce Program. The delivery of coursework will be coordinated through Bear Woman Enterprises, an American Indian-owned, full-service environmental company based in Denver.

Training and skill development will include coursework related to the management of hazardous materials and asbestos, emergency response, building renovation, fire and hazard protection, and environmental monitoring. These skills will prepare students for jobs in contaminated soil remediation, asbestos abatement, lead paint, mold, demolition, and emergency and disaster recovery operations.

EPA's Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training grants allow nonprofit and other organizations to recruit, train, and place predominantly low-income and minority, unemployed and under-employed people living in areas affected by solid and hazardous waste. Residents learn the skills needed to secure full-time, sustainable employment in the environmental field, including assessment and cleanup. These green jobs reduce environmental contamination and build more sustainable futures for communities.

Since the program's inception in 1998, EPA has funded 256 job training grants exceeding $54 million. More than 13,900 individuals have completed training, and of those, more than 10,000 have secured employment in the environmental field with an average hourly starting wage of $14.18. This equates to a cumulative job placement rate of 72 percent.

The EWDJT program was developed in the 1990s, as a result of recommendations raised by environmental justice leaders suggesting that the EPA support environmental training to help benefit local residents, and from an EPA realization that often times local residents were not benefitting from local remediation and cleanup activities due to the lack of a locally trained workforce in their communities. Rather than filling local, environmental jobs with professionals from distant cities, these grants help to provide an opportunity for local, unemployed residents to secure careers that make a visible impact cleaning up their communities.

More information: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/job.htm