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News Releases from Region 02

EPA Provides $200,000 for Green Job Training in New York City

Contact Information: 
Tayler Covington (

(New York, N.Y.) Illustrating its strong commitment to improving the environment and investing in the economic health of communities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today awarded a $200,000 grant to The Fortune Society, Inc., to help fund the organization’s program to train formerly incarcerated people in environmental jobs. This grant is one of 14 grants, totaling $2.7 million, awarded across the country through the EPA’s Brownfields Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) Program.

“Brownfields job training programs are a win-win for communities impacted by hazardous waste sites,” said U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “These job training programs can touch and change lives by providing valuable and marketable skills that also help protect our environment.”

The Fortune Society, Inc., plans to train 50 students and place at least 42 graduates in environmental jobs. The core training program includes more than 240 hours of instruction in:

  • 40-hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response,
  • environmental sampling techniques;
  • how to properly abate lead;
  • underground storage tank awareness;
  • stormwater management and green infrastructure; and
  • how to work with and handle asbestos, among other topics.

“The Fortune Society is happy to once again be partnering with the U.S. EPA to help prepare our out-of-work program participants in good jobs specific to our local economy,” said Laura Senkevitch, The Fortune Society’s Senior Director of Education and Training Programs. “By funding this initiative, we can continue to help train our jobseekers in new, necessary skills for careers to help make our neighborhoods safer, cleaner, and more resilient. We are so proud of our partnership.”

Participants who complete the core training will earn eight state or federal certifications. The Fortune Society will partner with the following organizations to identify program participants and to place students in green jobs: New York City Workforce Development Board; New York City Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation; Newtown Creek Alliance; NYC Brownfield Partnership; Robin Hood Foundation; and several other environmental and community‐based organizations.

The Fortune Society is a nonprofit social service organization, founded in 1967, whose mission is to support successful reentry from prison and promote alternative to incarceration. They serve approximately 3,000 men and women annually at three New York City-area locations.

For over two decades, EPA’s EWDJT program has helped put people to work by building a skilled workforce across the country. The program awards competitive grants to nonprofit organizations and other eligible entities to recruit, train and place unemployed and underemployed individuals.  Individuals completing the training have often overcome a variety of barriers to employment. Many are from low-income neighborhoods. The training programs also serve dislocated workers who have lost their jobs as a result of manufacturing plant closures, minorities, tribal members, transitioning veterans, ex-offenders and other individuals who may have faced barriers to employment. 

Since 1998, when the EWDJT grant program started, more than 274 grants have been awarded exceeding $57 million. Approximately 16,300 individuals have completed training, and of those, more than 11,900 individuals have been placed in full-time employment earning an average starting wage of over $14 an hour. This equates to a cumulative job placement rate of 73 percent of graduates. 

There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites in America.  Since the beginning of EPA’s Brownfields Program, investments have leveraged more than $22 billion from a variety of public and private sources for cleanup and redevelopment activities. This has resulted in approximately 117,525 jobs nationwide. On average, $16.11 was leveraged for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 8.5 jobs leveraged per $100,000 of EPA brownfields funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements. When brownfields are addressed, nearby property values within a one-mile radius can increase 5-15.2% percent according to an independent study.

For more information on EWDJT grantees, including past EWDJT grantees, please visit:

For more information on EPA’s EWDJT program, please visit:

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