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News Releases from Region 05

EPA selects RecycleForce in Indianapolis to receive $200,000 grant

Agency’s Environmental Workforce Job Training Program Transforms Lives

Contact Information: 
Rachel Bassler (

For Immediate Release: No. 18-OPA011

CHICAGO (May 7, 2018) – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that Indianapolis-based Workforce Inc., also known as RecycleForce, has been selected to receive a $200,000 grant for environmental job training programs available to local residents. Funded through the agency’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) Program, RecycleForce and 16 other organizations across the country have been selected to receive a total of $3.3 million to help residents learn needed skills to secure employment in the environmental field.

The grants will help prepare people for green jobs that reduce environmental contamination and provide more sustainable futures for the communities most affected by solid- and hazardous-waste contamination.

“Through these Brownfields job training programs, we’re investing in getting Americans back to work and improving local economies and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.  “Graduates will acquire the skill set necessary to gain full-time employment in the environmental field and help revitalize their communities.” 

“EPA is pleased to provide funding to help RecycleForce continue its vital, transformational work in Indianapolis,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Cathy Stepp. “EPA’s job training program is a win-win for the environmental workforce and for their communities.”  

“The award of EPA workforce funding would be very important for RecycleForce and the community we serve. HAZWOPER 40 (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard) and RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) training are very critical in Indianapolis right now,” said Gregg Keesling, president of RecycleForce. “Never in our long history of serving this population has an EPA workforce grant been more needed and more timely.”

RecycleForce offers recycling services that support workforce training and job placement for formerly incarcerated men and women transitioning back to society. The program includes HAZWOPER, OSHA Safety and RCRA training. According to RecycleForce, outputs include recruiting 100 residents, graduating 75, and placing at least 86 percent of those graduates in jobs. 

Since the EWDJT program began in 1998, more than 288 grants have been awarded. Over 17,100 individuals have completed training, and of those, more than 12,500 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.

The EWDJT program helps to build 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 these training programs 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, and other individuals who may have faced barriers to employment.

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

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